Makuutu Demonstration Plant Update
Perth, Oct 18, 2023 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Ionic Rare Earths Limited (ASX:IXR) (IXRRF:OTCMKTS) is pleased to advise progress in the construction of the Technical Facility and Demonstration Plant at the Makuutu Rare Earths Project ("Makuutu") in Uganda, through local Ugandan operating entity Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited ("RRM").
At the Makuutu Demonstration Plant technical facility, civils have been completed along with the installation of the technical facility steel frame structure, with concrete slabs also poured for the agglomerator and heap desorption crib areas. Boundary fence installation and the upgraded site access road have also progressed towards completion. The technical facility schedule for completion has been revised and is now expected to be finalised in November with a target to commence heap desorption column test work by the end of 2023.
The Makuutu Demonstration Plant technical facility will aim to further optimise metallurgical test work and provide further technical validation basis for grade control, mine design, material handling, metallurgical reconciliation, and construction activity whilst also supporting Project financing and strategic partner activity.
IonicRE's Managing Director Mr Tim Harrison said the progress at Makuutu over the past 6 weeks has been pleasing as land access agreements are now rapidly being progressed across all 3 districts that hosts the Makuutu Stage 1 Mining Licence Application (MLA) area at Retention Licence (RL) 1693, under TN03834 pending award.
"The progress allows IonicRE and RRM to harness our processing innovations to accelerate and validate mine development with a clear process plan to production and profitability," Harrison said.
"This Demonstration Plant at Makuutu is a key milestone for the supply chain engagement with product to be produced here likely to go off to potential partners in early 2024. It is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxide (HREO) supply," he said.
"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 Ionic Technologies 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".
DEMONSTRATION PLANT ACTIVITIES
The technical facility structure is anticipated to be completed by late November, complete with electrical and water installations which will mark the end of a nine-month process from initial land acquisition to final construction.
A delay in the dispatch of test work equipment from Perth will see equipment reach Uganda next month prior to installation.
The Company continues to build its Uganda team with several new appointments made, and key input received from newly appointed engineering contractor DRA Global (ASX 19 September 2023).
UPDATE ON STAGE ONE MINING LICENCE APPLICATION (TN03834)
The Company, through RRM, remains in regular dialogue with representatives of the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) for an update on the MLA and the Ugandan Government's progress with regard to processing the MLA.
The requirement to gazette the notice of application for a large-scale mining licence under the new regulations was signed by the Hon Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, the Ugandan government minister for Energy and Mineral Development on 15th September 2023 and gazetted on the 2nd of October.
The Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project has the Government's full support and is set to become Uganda's flagship mine (refer also to IXR ASX release on the 11th of September for more detail).
Senior members of IonicRE's executive will be travelling to Uganda in the next fortnight to meet with key stakeholders and attend the Ugandan Mineral Wealth Conference in Kampala on the 30th and 31st of October 2023.
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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.