Makuutu Phase 5 Tranche 2 Drill Results
Perth, Oct 2, 2023 AEST (ABN Newswire) - The Board of Ionic Rare Earths Limited (ASX:IXR) (IXRRF:OTCMKTS) advises on progress at its 60 per cent owned Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project ("Makuutu" or "the Project") in Uganda.
The Company is progressing the development at the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project through local Ugandan operating entity Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited ("RRM").
IonicRE's Managing Director Mr Tim Harrison said the Phase 5 RAB Tranche 2 assay results confirmed the expected potential of the northwest tenement to provide additional growth potential for a much larger Makuutu Project in years to come.
"EL00257 has now confirmed clay-hosted rare earth mineralisation in 21 of 26 RAB holes drilled in this program.
"The Project now moves to metallurgical test work on a selection of sample intervals to map the potential of this tenement and EL00147, expected to add significantly to the Makuutu Project development plan.
"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. Along with our Belfast recycling facility, Makuutu is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate mining, refining, and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths that are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence," Mr Harrison said.
The Tranche 2 results are from drilling located on Exploration Licence EL00257 (26 holes) and Retention Licence (RL) 00007 (5 holes), located at the western end of the extensive licence holding at Makuutu (see Figure 1*).
A total of 31 rotary air blast (RAB) holes were drilled across EL00257 and RL00007, with 26 holes recording intervals of regolith hosted rare earth mineralisation above the 2022 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) cut-off grade of 200 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide minus Cerium oxide (TREO-CeO2).
(ASX 3 May 2022). Table 1* lists the intersection compilations and Figure 2* shows the location of the drill results.
EL00257 RAB Drilling
The RAB drilling on EL00257 is the first drilling to test this tenement. The aim of the drilling was to test the endowment of rare earth element (REE) in the regolith and determine the extent and thickness of mineralisation. This drilling has successfully confirmed zones of thick REE mineralisation on the northwestern half of the licence.
Results from the drilling (Figure 2*) show the northwestern half of the area contains greater thickness of regolith under hardcap with significant intersections including;
- 8 metres at 975 ppm TREO from 7 metres in RRMRB117;
- 20 metres at 865 ppm TREO from 6 metres in RRMRB115;
- 20 metres at 789 ppm TREO from 4 metres in RRMRB116;
- 24 metres at 781 ppm TREO from 4 metres in RRMRB129; and
- 20 metres at 756 ppm TREO from 4 metres in RRMRB120.
This area is interpreted to be underlain by the Iganga Suite granite basement rocks, an older and different protolith from the Makuutu deposit hosted in a Karoo age sedimentary basin.
RL00007 RAB Drilling
Five (5) RAB holes (RRMRB139 to 143) tested exploration target B1 which had produced significant intersections above a granite host from 2 broad spaced holes drilled in 2021 (RRMRB063 10 metres at 698 ppm TREO and RRMRB064 8 metres 512) (ASX 20 July 2021). These 2 holes were used to identify exploration target B1 with a target range of 15Mt to 45Mt with a grade range of 500 ppm TREO to 700 ppm TREO (see Table 2*).
The results of these Phase 5 RAB holes have shown the mineralisation to be variable in thickness and grade with a best intersection in RRMRB142 of 18 metres at 612 ppm TREO from 6 metres. As a result, the exploration Target is not expected to change.
Resource Infill Area A and B
Resource infill drilling is ongoing on Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) areas A and B (refer Figure 2* green points results pending, red points awaiting drilling), with the drilling designed to increase resource confidence from inferred to indicated status. To date 103 holes (2,032 metres) have been drilled and it is expected that the program will be completed later this month.
Exploration Target Drilling
As detailed earlier, the existing Makuutu Exploration Target (ASX 1 June 2022), which is additional to the current Makuutu MRE, indicated a range for additional potential mineralisation at Makuutu estimated at;
216 - 535 million tonnes grading 400 - 600 ppm TREO*
*This Exploration Target is conceptual in nature but is based on reasonable grounds and assumptions. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource.
The 2021 Phase 3 RAB reconnaissance drilling campaign tested multiple targets in the Makuutu area and identified clay hosted REE mineralisation within, and outside, the sedimentary basin that contains the Makuutu resource.
The success of that program allowed a revision of the Exploration Target. The revised Exploration Target was separated into target areas within the sedimentary basin, and those outside the basin with clay hosted REE mineralisation derived from a mixture of rock types including granite, granodiorite and some mafic rocks.
The Exploration Target ranges are listed in Table 2* and locations shown on Figure 1*.
The aim of the exploration program in the target areas is to establish further input ahead of the next phase to progress to Inferred level resources in accordance with the guidelines of the JORC code.
Pending drill assays are aimed to initially determine the endowment of REE in the area with the goal of generating additions to an updated Exploration Target following indicative extraction test work of new areas.
Extraction test work has been initiated to evaluate the economic potential of this mineralisation drilled across EL00147, EL00257 and RL00007.
*To view tables and figures, please visit:
About Ionic Rare Earths Limited
Ionic 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.