Ionic Rare Earths, an Australian mineral exploration firm, has successfully obtained a substantial mining license for the Makuutu heavy rare earth project from the Ugandan Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM).
This license was secured through Rwenzori Rare Metals, in which Ionic Rare Earths holds a 51% stake, alongside Rare Earth Elements Africa (REEA) with a 42% stake, and Ugandan Partners with a 7% stake.
The Makuutu project, spanning approximately 298km² and encompassing six licenses, is fully owned by Rwenzori. Positioned 40km from Jinja and 120km from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, the project features a geological composition that is rich in heavy rare earth oxides (HREO), allowing for relatively simple mining and processing methods.
The project boasts a current mineral resource estimate of 532 million tonnes at 640ppm total rare earth oxides (TREO), with a cutoff grade of 200ppm total rare earth oxides minus cerium (TREO-CeO₂).
The initial stage of the mining license encompasses a 44km² area within Makuutu’s extensive land holdings.
Ionic has also unveiled a positive feasibility study and received approval to construct a demonstration plant at the project site.
Tim Harrison, Managing Director of Ionic Rare Earths, expressed satisfaction with the DGSM’s official approval of the mining license for the Makuutu heavy rare earth project. Harrison highlighted the importance of this development for Ionic Rare Earths and Rwenzori, particularly in the context of mining, refining, and recycling heavy rare earths, which are crucial for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defense sectors. He also emphasized that this announcement reinforces the Makuutu project’s status as one of the world’s most extensive and advanced heavy rare earth element assets ready for development, underlining the company’s anticipation of advancing to the next phases and commissioning the Demonstration Plant at Makuutu.
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- Business Aggrey" is a 23-year-old Ugandan journalist and Editor-in-Chief at The Black Examiner newspaper
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