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DRA Appointed to Progress Makuutu Development
DRA Appointed to Progress Makuutu Development

Perth, Sep 19, 2023 AEST (ABN Newswire) - The Board of Ionic Rare Earths Limited (googlechartASX:IXR) (googlechartIXRRF:OTCMKTS) has appointed DRA Global (googlechartASX:DRA) to support project delivery at its 60 per cent owned Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project ("Makuutu" or "the Project") in Uganda.

DRA Global is an international multi-disciplinary engineering, project delivery and operations management group focused on the mining, minerals, and metals industry.

"Our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda positions us to provide a secure, sustainable, and traceable supply of magnet rare earth oxides," Tim Harrison, Managing Director at IonicRE, said.

"Along with our Belfast recycling facility, the Makuutu project is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths which are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence."

DRA Group has a strong track record in Africa spanning almost four decades across a range of commodities, with deep expertise in the mining, minerals, and metals processing industries, as well as related infrastructure such as, water, and energy solutions.

DRA has assembled a strong team from South Africa, based in the Johannesburg office, who will work closely with IonicRE's recently appointed Chief Operating Officer, Dr Tommie van der Walt. Dr Van der Walt has worked with DRA Global on several African projects including the US$2 Billion Ahafo Mega-project in Ghana.

"DRA Global has successfully delivered several significant mining projects across Africa in varied commodities. DRA will identify any additional value and cost optimisation and ensure rigorous review of project parameters ahead of FID."

"Their positive attitude to challenging conditions and environments, as well as their professional approach to project execution, has served me well in my role as Director for various projects," Dr van der Walt said.


DRA Global will focus on the optimisation of mining pit design and operations and conduct a detailed review of the Stage One DFS and Phase Two of the Demonstration Plant.

A further objective is to identify potential opportunities for overall project enhancement and any further work required to attain the Class Two estimate accuracy (-15% to +20%).

DRA's scope of services encompass the following for the Phase Two Demonstration Plant and an updated DFS for the Makuutu Project:

- Review of relevant historical study documentation and test work results;

- Review of existing process engineering documentation ("Process Pack");

- Identification of potential trade-off and optimisation studies required for subsequent phases;

- Facilitate and partake in high-level Hazard and Operability studies;

- Review of the proposed materials handling approach;

- Review on the mining operations; and

- High-level review of project support infrastructure beyond the precinct of the process plant - securing of bulk power and bulk water; project logistics; plant access; construction and permanent accommodation, etc.

Further to the assessment of the Phase Two Demonstration Plant and DFS, DRA's services will extend to providing an in-depth review of the proposed mining philosophy and mining operation as well as an assessment and optimisation of the mine design for the Makuutu Project.

About Ionic Rare Earths Limited

Ionic Rare Earths ASX:IXRIonic Rare Earths Limited (ASX:IXR) (OTCMKTS:IXRRF) is focused on developing its flagship Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda into a significant long life, low-cost, supplier of high-value critical and heavy rare earths.

Makuutu is an advanced-stage, ionic adsorption clay-hosted project highlighted by near-surface mineralisation, significant exploration upside, excellent metallurgical characteristics and access to tier-one infrastructure.

The ionic adsorption clay-hosted geology at Makuutu is similar to major rare earths projects in Southern China, which are responsible for the majority of global supply of low cost heavy and critical rare earths, specifically the high value magnet metals (Dysprosium and Terbium) Heavy Rare Earths (>98% originating from ionic clays). Metallurgical testing at Makuutu has returned excellent recovery rates, which provide multiple avenues for a simple process route.

Makuutu is well-supported by tier-one existing infrastructure which includes access to major highways, roads, power, water and a professional workforce.

Rare Earths will play a critical role in the future of clean energy. Rare Earths are a key ingredient in the permanent magnets found in wind turbines and electric vehicles.

IonicRE is led by an experienced and proven team, who have the capabilities to deliver Makuutu into production and realise value for all stakeholders. 


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Peter Taylor
NWR Communications
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