Ionic Rare Earths increases Makuutu exposure

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has increased an exploration licence within the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda by 40% via its maiden rotary air blast drilling program. 

The $78 million market capitalisation company reports exploration licence (EL00257) has been revised upward to 285-766 million tonnes grading 400-700 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxide (TREO). 

A total of 76 holes were drilled in the phase five program across EL00147 and EL00257, as well as retention licence 00007, with 69 holes reporting assays with clay-hosted rare earth intersections above the current resource cut-off. 

Drilling across EL00147 has increased the confidence in the existing exploration target defined for 00147 with no further change. 

Ionic notes that the exploration target is outside of the current project’s Mineral Resource Estimate. 

The company intends to design an exploration program to evaluate the targets for resource development, including drilling and processing testwork. These will be compiled during 2024 to inform Ionic on work streams to advance exploration licences towards further evaluation. 

Drilling in 2023 on EL00257 was broad spaced with the aim of identifying the presence and tenor of rare earth mineralisation in the regolith above underlying fresh rock in laterite plateau areas. 

Meanwhile, drilling on EL0147 was designed to infill the initial 1-kilometre spaced 2021 RAB program drilling to a spacing of 500m. This drilling returned results consistent with the 2021 program and the exploration target range have been maintained for targets A6, B4, and B5. 

Ionic is currently focused on progressing the development of its Makuutu project through local Ugandan operating entity Rwenzori Rare Metals. The company has agreed terms with partners on moving to 94% ownership, which is anticipated to occur in H1 2024. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Ionic Rare Earths kickstarts 24/7 UK operations

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has started 24/7 operations at Ionic Technologies International, a 100% owned subsidiary based in Belfast, UK.

Ionic Rare Earths Managing Director Tim Harrison says the continuous operation allowed the company to deepen supply chain relationships and provided additional data to support the completion of the feasibility study on a commercial plant.

The MD says the demonstration plant soon will be hosting potential strategic partners looking to get access to sustainably produced magnet rare earths in a market where demand is expected to quickly outstrip supply.

“We look forward to supplying our collaboration partners, LCM and Ford, for scaled up downstream value addition all the way to permanent magnets and demonstrating a circular magnet rare earth supply chain.”

Ionic Technologies is a global first mover in the recycling of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets to high purity separated magnet rare earth oxides (REOs) – enabling the creation of sustainable, traceable, and sovereign rare earth supply chains.

During 2023, Ionic Technologies constructed a magnet recycling demonstration plant and produced quantities of high purity (> 99.5%) neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy) rare earth oxides (REOs).

The company is now operating the demonstration plant on a continuous basis, with the intention to produce high purity separated rare earth oxides at the design production capacity of 10 tonnes per annum, from 30tpa of end-of-life permanent magnets or production swarf.

This production will flow immediately into the UK Government supported CLIMATES collaboration with Ford Technologies and Less Common Metals (LCM).

Harrison says the commencement of 24/7 operation in Belfast is a major technical achievement for the Ionic Technologies team.

“It is an important step forward for Ionic Rare Earths in mining, refining, and recycling the magnet and heavy rare earths critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.

The continuous operation enables the production of samples and verification data, supports sector relationships, plus new strategic partner relationships. This cements our position in the emergence of alternative, secure and traceable supply of magnet and heavy rare earths to market.”

Harrison adds that the continuous operation was de-risking the technology and the flowsheet, plus evaluating the robustness of the process in taking variable feedstocks of magnets with variable magnet rare earth distribution, coated or oxidised magnets, and swarf material from metal to magnet manufacturing, and producing high purity magnet REOs.

“The demonstration plant is also validating data for the feasibility study underway for a commercial plant to be located in Belfast, UK, with the potential for turnkey plants in our key focus markets.”

In September 2022, the UK Government’s Innovate UK Automotive Transformation Fund Scale up Readiness Validation (SuRV) program, coordinated by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), awarded a £1.72 million grant ($2.90 million) to Ionic Technologies to build a demonstration magnet recycling plant to produce separated magnet rare earth oxides (REOs), a first for the UK, as a scale up of successful previous pilot campaigns using the company’s patented technology.

On 12 September 2023, Ionic Technologies announced it had secured additional funding for two Innovate UK CLIMATES grants from the totalling £2 million ($3.90 million).

The successful grant funding submissions centred on two CLIMATES projects in partnership with Less Common Metals (LCM) and Ford Technologies, Ionic Technologies will develop a traceable, circular supply chain of rare earths for application in EV motors within the UK.

Also, in partnership with the British Geological Survey, Ionic Technologies commenced a feasibility study for a commercial magnet recycling plant in Belfast, UK. The company has established technical and operational teams to both operate the plant and support continued technical optimisation programs, enabling 24/7 operation of the plant.

Production schedules are now in place, to ensure maximised asset usage, safe operation and to fulfil supply chain demand for production campaigns to both committed collaboration partners and new partnerships the Company is exploring. To date, about 2.7 tonnes of permanent magnets have been processed through front end operations, enabling the commencement of the digestion circuit for treatment and solid-liquid separation.

The separation circuit has been water commissioned and feed to the circuit is expected to start over the next two weeks. Simultaneously, Ionic Technologies is readying capability to complete dysprosium (Dy) and terbium (Tb) separation utilising the existing mixer-settler pilot plant equipment.

This complex separation of Heavy Rare Earths provides supply chain partners with high purity (99.5% or above) Heavy Rare Earth Oxides to be used in developing grain boundary diffused (GBD) sintered permanent magnet production.

Ionic is set to become a miner, refiner and recycler of sustainable and traceable magnet and heavy rare earths needed to develop net-zero carbon technologies.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Ugandan government approves mining at Ionic’s Makuutu

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) says the Ugandan Minister of Energy and Mineral Development has issued a ‘large-scale’ mining licence (LML 00334) for the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda.

This is the first ‘large-scale’ mining licence awarded in Uganda. 

Ionic, which has a market capitalisation of $94.17 million, says this further supports the flagship project status awarded to Makuutu in 2022 and reflects the ‘strong’ support received from Uganda in the development of the project towards operations. 

The company notes the Makuutu Demonstration Plant is on track for production for Q1 2024.

Managing Director Tim Harrison says the formal awarding of the mining licence enables discussions with potential strategic and supply chain partners to progress to the next stage to bring Makuutu and a new supply of magnet and heavy rare earths to market. 

“With this award, and discussions underway with potential partners, the project is aiming for Final Investment Decision later this year, and first product to customers in early 2026.”

Ionic says the Ugandan Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines has announced approval for renewal of the ‘highly prospective’ exploration licence 00147, which covers the majority of the company’s existing exploration target. 

Harrison says: “Progress continues to be made at Makuutu’s Demonstration Plant, which will also be critical in de-risking the commercialisation of the project through the production of value added, mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) for our partners to qualify and validate.

It is an important step forward for Ionic Rare Earths in mining, refining, and recycling the heavy rare earths critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.”

As previously reported in December 2023, Ionic executed an agreement with partners in Rwenzori to increase its stake in Rwenzori and the Makuutu project from 60% to 94% ownership.

Ionic Rare Earths is a miner, refiner, and recycler of sustainable and traceable magnet and heavy rare earths needed to develop net-zero carbon technologies. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $5.693 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Ionic lands provisional approval for Ugandan mining licence

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has been provisionally awarded Uganda’s first large-scale mining licence, paving the way for further supply chain engagement to support a new global supply of magnet rare earths. 

The junior explorer on 2 January announced that it had been provisionally granted the Makuutu Central Zone Large Scale Mining Licence (LML) 00334 over Retention Licence (RL) 1693, pending the receipt of signed documents and gazetting in Uganda. 

The approval comes as Ionic continues to advance the development of its demonstration plant in the country, with the first mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) on track for production before the end of March. 

At the same time, Ionic has reached an agreement with its partner, Rwenzori Rare Metals, to increase its stake in Makuutu to 94%. 

Ionic Managing Director Tim Harrison says the provisional award affirms the Ugandan government’s commitment to the country’s mining industry and the Makuutu project. 

“This is an important step forward for Ionic Rare Earths in mining, refining, and recycling the heavy rare earths critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence. 

This reinforces the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earth Project as one of the world’s largest and most advanced development-ready heavy rare earth element assets, and we look forward to progressing the next steps and commissioning our demonstration plant at Makuutu.”

“This is an important step forward for Ionic Rare Earths in mining, refining, and recycling the heavy rare earths critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence”

LML 00334 is a stage-one licence and covers roughly 44km-square of Makuutu’s near 300km-square of tenements. Makuutu currently has a mineral resource estimate of 532 million tonnes @ 640 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides with a cut-off grade of 200 ppm TREO minure cerium oxide. 

Ionic Rare Earths says Makuutu remains ‘the world’s most advanced ionic adsorption clay project in development today’. The future rare earths to be produced from the project are not committed to China but are instead available to new supply chains looking to decouple from existing global sources. 

With provisional approval now granted, Ionic says Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, is expected to sign the formal documents before the end of the week. 

As it receives provisional approval for LML 00334, Ionic has also applied for the renewable of Exploration Licences 00147 and 00148, and the company says it expects to receive these ‘shortly’. 

Write to Joshua Smith at Mining.com.au

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Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.

Ionic Rare Earths moves to 94% ownership of Makuutu

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has signed a conditional share purchase agreement with Rare Earth Elements Africa (REEA) under which it will acquire a further 34% interest in the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda. 

The agreement will take Ionic’s ownership of the project to 94% once completed. 

Under the agreement, Ionic will issue REEA 425 million fully paid ordinary shares and 350 million performance rights vesting on the satisfaction of the issue of the mining licence for the stage one development of Makuutu and Ionic’s volume weighted average price (VWAP) on the ASX for 30 trading days exceeding $0.05. 

The conditions of the agreement include an additional 350 million performance rights vesting on the satisfaction of Ionic securing binding funding commitments to fully fund construction at Makuutu and any conditions precedent to drawdown being satisfied or waived, and the VWAP condition being satisfied. 

Ionic notes that if all consideration rights vest in accordance with their terms, it will pay REEA a bonus of 135 million shares, a cash consideration of the bonus consideration shares based on the 5-day VWAP at the time, or a combination of cash and shares capped at 135 million Ionic shares. 

This agreement is expected to be completed in Q1 2024. 

Ionic says it expects this to be a ‘substantial’ step forward in progressing the financing and offtake discussions with multiple third parties who have expressed ‘strong’ interest in partnering with the company to access heavy rare earth products achieved through development. 

Ionic Managing Director Tim Harrison says this is an ‘exciting’ time for the project as the company nears the production of its first mixed rare earth carbonate from the demonstration facility. He says by increasing its ownership of the project, it can advance and expedite discussions with investors, partners, and financiers. 

“Makuutu can unlock near-term supply of heavy rare earths into the advanced manufacturing demand that far exceeds existing supply. It has immediate strategic value to these new supply chains forming.

With a dominant 71% magnet and heavy rare earth basket content, Makuutu stands tall as one of the most advanced heavy rare earth projects globally.”

With a dominant 71% magnet and heavy rare earth basket content, Makuutu stands tall as one of the most advanced heavy rare earth projects globally”

Ionic Rare Earths is a rare earths-focused company that is set to become a miner, refiner, and recycler of sustainable and traceable magnet and heavy rare earths needed to develop net-zero carbon technologies. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $5.693 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. Post-quarter-end, the company conducted a placement to raise $5.9 million.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

EU Critical Raw Materials Act puts eyes on IonicRE facility

Junior explorer Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has touted its Ionic Technologies facility in Belfast, UK, as a key beneficiary of the European Union’s new Critical Raw Materials Act legislation. 

The new laws will look to encourage the recycling of magnet rare earths — now classified as ‘strategic raw materials’ — across the EU, with the common text for the Act upgrading the benchmark for the recycling of these materials to 25% of annual consumption by 2030 from the current benchmark of 15%. 

It bodes well for those looking to break into the rare earths recycling space, which includes Ionic and its Belfast facility, according to Managing Director Tim Harrison. 

The MD says the Ionic Facility is already progressing key discussions with magnet manufacturers on the recycling of swarf — a term for metal- and magnet-making waste.

The facility is also exploring opportunities to access a steady supply of magnets for recycling from sources such as end-of-life turbines from grid-scale wind warms and electric vehicle components. 

With the European Parliament and EU government agreeing to the common text for the new Critical Raw Materials Act, Harrison says the Belfast facility is primed to support the cause. 

“Our proprietary magnet recycling technology will help the EU meet these targets to develop domestic, secure, and sustainable supply chains to address strategic supply and sovereign security.” 

“Our proprietary magnet recycling technology will help the EU meet these targets to develop domestic, secure, and sustainable supply chains to address strategic supply and sovereign security”

In a press release from November 13, the EU said the Act was designed to cut red tape and promote innovation along the entire critical materials value chain, with a specific focus on supporting small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and boosting research and development for environmentally friendly mining and production. 

The legislation will set up economic incentives and a more stable and secure business framework for the deployment of mining and recycling projects, with faster and simpler authorisation processes,” the press release said. 

The Act aims to increase and diversify the EU’s critical raw materials supply, strengthen ‘circularity’, which is where recycling comes into the picture, and support innovation on resource efficiency. 

The EU Parliament and Council will now need to approve an informal agreement to be put to a vote in the Industry, Research and Energy committee before the new Act can become law. The vote is slated for 7 December. 

Along with its Belfast facility, Ionic Rare Earths is busy earning a 60% interest in the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda. 

As of 30 September, Ionic had $5.7 million cash and cash equivalents at hand. The company on 20 November announced a $5.9 million share placement and $2 million purchase plan to top up its balance sheet.

Ionic has a market capitalisation of $79.12 million. 

Write to Joshua Smith at Mining.com.au

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Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.

Ionic on track for early 2024 Makuutu REE production

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) expects to produce its first mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) product from its Makuutu Demonstration Plant in Uganda in Q1 2024.

The company says the product will be sent to potential customers and offtakers that are interested in partnering with Ionic to secure magnet and heavy rare earth products from Makuutu once it becomes an operational mine.

The demonstration plant is part of the company’s wider Makuutu Rare Earths Project. 

Ionic is currently working to complete the construction of the Makuutu demonstration plant technical facility. Once construction is complete and testwork equipment has been delivered and installed at the facility, process commissioning can begin. This is slated for later this year. 

The technical facility will aim to further optimise metallurgical testwork outputs and provide technical validation for a detailed review of the stage one Makuutu Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) being conducted by DRA Global. 

Ionic Rare Earths Managing Director Tim Harrison says the company is harnessing its innovations to expedite and validate its mine development work. 

“This demonstration plant at Makuutu is a key milestone for the supply chain engagement, with product to be produced here likely to be sent to potential offtake partners in early 2024. 

Makuutu is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxide supply. 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. 

“Makuutu is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxide supply”

Along with our Ionic Technologies Belfast recycling facility, Makuutu is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate mining, refining, and recycling of magnet and heavy rare earths that are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.”

The company reports grade control drilling on one of the 2 test pit locations is progressing ‘well’ and is anticipated to be completed later this month. 

Ionic Rare Earths is set to become a miner, refiner, and recycler of sustainable and traceable magnet and heavy rare earths. The company owns 60% of the Makuutu project, which is aimed to supply ‘high-value’ magnet and heavy rare earths oxide.

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $5.693 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au  

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

IonicRE appoints DRA Global for Makuutu works

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX: IXR) has appointed DRA Global (ASX:DRA) to support project delivery at its 60% owned Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths 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.

It 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.

Speaking in the appointment, Tim Harrison, Managing Director at $102.59 million market capitalisation IonicRE, says the company’s focus on the delivery of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project positions it to provide a secure, sustainable, and traceable supply of magnet rare earth oxides.

“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 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.

Van der Walt has worked with DRA Global on several African projects including the US$2 Billion Ahafo Mega-project in Ghana.

He says: “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.”

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.

Further, 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.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Ionic Rare Earths receives ministerial support

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has received support from the Hon Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, the Ugandan Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, for the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda. 

The $90.76 million market capitalisation company’s Managing Director, Tim Harrison, met with Minister Ssentamu at the Africa Down Under Mining Conference 2023, which ran from 6 to 8 September in Perth, Western Australia. 

Ssentamu says: “Uganda is committed to the development of its mining sector in line with the Mining and Minerals Act 2022 and its 2040 vision. 

Under this framework, we look forward to granting approval of the mining licence application to Ionic Rare Earths and Rwenzori Rare Metals. This is a flagship project to establish Uganda as a strategic partner in global supply chains for heavy rare earths.”

Ionic says Australia’s Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, also spoke ‘highly’ of the partnership between Uganda and Australia represented by Makuutu. 

The Minister noted that the abundance of natural resources in African nations that help produce critical clean energy technologies presents “great opportunities for us to work together across international borders”.

Ionic Rare Earths’s share price increased by 8.7% to close at $0.025 on Monday afternoon (11 September).

The company notes that new laws in Uganda’s mining sector have facilitated a ‘conducive mineral investment climate’. 

Ionic Rare Earths is an ASX-listed miner, refiner, and recycler. As of 30 June 2023, the company had $11.117 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

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Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Viridis Mining and Minerals shares spike 92% on fresh rare earth project purchase in Brazil

Viridis Mining and Minerals (ASX:VMM) has secured a potentially ‘world-class’ ionic adsorption clay (IAC) rare earth element (REE) project in Minas Gerais, Brazil. 

The company says it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the rights to the REEs comprising the Colossus Rare Earth Project, which lies in Minas Gerais’ Poços De Caldas Alkaline Complex. 

Following the announcement, the company’s share price closed 92% higher at $0.48 on Tuesday afternoon. 

To date, exploration undertaken at the project consists of 34 shallow auger holes completed by the previous owners to a maximum depth of 3m. Results from previous drilling are reported to have returned ‘remarkable’ grades of REE mineralisation within heavily weathered clay and humic profiles. 

These results include hole TN-AG-222 with 3m @ 2,003 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxide (TREO) from surface (22% MREO), ending in mineralisation, and hole TN-AG-223 with 3m @ 1,997ppm TREO from surface (22% MREO), ending in mineralisation. 

Mineralisation is interpreted to remain open in all directions and at depth, with no drilling to date having been completed below 3m. Viridis says these results represent the underpinning of a tier one project, with grades expected to increase ‘significantly’ when tested with deeper drilling. 

The terms of the deal include an upfront payment of US$2 million structured as an advanced royalty payment on a royalty from future production. This payment comprises a non-refundable cash payment of US$1 million upon the settlement of the acquisition and an additional US$1 million payment within 4 business days of the 6-month anniversary of the settlement date payment.  

Meanwhile, the company states it will raise about $2.2 million at $0.25 to fund exploration and the initial upfront cash payment for the project. Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) is expected to represent the cornerstone for $600,000 and will provide the company additional expertise to fast-track the project into development. 

With the company well on its way to securing a 100% interest in the Colossus project, Viridis announces it is continuing to explore opportunities to acquire additional exploration and mining licences prospective for IAC Rare Earths in the Poços De Caldas Alkaline Complex. 

This work is intended to feed into part of the company’s long-term vision to scale the Colossus Project to a world-class asset.  

Addressing the acquisition, Viridis Mining and Minerals Executive Chairman Agha Shahzad Pervez says: “The acquisition of the Colossus Project marks a transformative step for Viridis’ growth strategy and provides the company a dominant land position directly adjacent to the world’s highest-grade ionic adsorption clay REE deposit. 

The acquisition of the Colossus Project marks a transformative step for Viridis’ growth strategy”

The widespread high-grade REE mineralisation within the Colossus Project in the upper ‘leached zone’ demonstrated by shallow drilling is particularly encouraging and provides the company with an exciting opportunity to define and grow a strategic resource within South America’s largest known Alkaline complex. 

Viridis will now commence an aggressive and systematic exploration program to delineate a maiden resource to establish a supply chain of high-grade rare earth oxide for Western markets.”

Viridis Mining and Minerals is an ASX-listed resource explorer and developer with assets in Canada and Australia. These projects include the South Kitikmeot, Boddington West, Bindoon, and the Poochera and Smoky projects. 

The company reports the Colossus project comprises 41 licences, including 2 mining leases, which cover a total land area of 56km-square within South America’s largest alkaline complex.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Ionic Rare Earths ramps up exploration at Makuutu HREE Project in Uganda

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has kicked off earthworks and construction activities at its Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda. 

At the Makuutu Demonstration plant, the facility shed has been fabricated and delivered to site, and the erection of the technical facility has begun. 

The $82.86 million market capitalisation company says the foundation formwork has been set out, with concrete footings beginning over this weekend and superstructure erection starting in the next 4 weeks. 

Commenting on the progress of the project, Ionic Rare Earths Managing Director Tim Harrison says: “The commercialisation of our recycling technology at our Belfast Facility and 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.”

Ionic Rare Earths adds that the demonstration plant technical facility will confirm metallurgical testwork, provide further technical validation basis for grade control, mine design, material handling, metallurgical reconciliation, and construction activity, and supporting the project’s financing and strategic partnering activity. 

“This 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 says: “This 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.”

In addition, the company reports its phase five drilling program is advancing with all 76 rotary air blast (RAB) holes completed across EL00147, EL00247, and RL00007. Further, core drilling is progressing, with 29 holes drilled for 558m completed so far as part of a 4,380m program. 

The core drilling is aimed to support an upgrade in the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) classification from inferred to indicated over RL00007. 

Ionic Rare Earths is an ASX-listed company currently focusing on becoming a miner, refiner, and recycler of sustainable and traceable magnet and heavy rare earths, which are needed to develop net-zero carbon technologies. 

As of 31 March 2023, the company had $14.546 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report published on 26 April 2023.

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Ionic Rare Earths begins production of rare earth oxides at Belfast demonstration plant

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has started the production of high-purity, recycled magnet rare earth oxides (REOs) at its demonstration plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Operated by the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Ionic Technologies International, which Ionic Rare Earths acquired in April 2022, the facility uses a hydrometallurgical process to extract rare earth elements (REEs) from spent neodymium-iron-boron magnets. Those separated REEs are then refined to produce individual REOs suitable for the manufacture of high-performance magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Our Belfast facility is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths”

“Our Belfast facility 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,” Ionic Managing Director Tim Harrison said.

In addition to a steady supply of spent magnets, the Belfast facility also has access to 50 million tonnes of neodymium-iron-boron magnets and swarf material. This feedstock material will be used to support the completion of demonstration trials, the data from which will then be used for the development of commercial facilities.

In a statement to the ASX this morning (19 June), Harrison noted that the current US$3 billion global market for REO magnets is expected to increase to US$15 billion by the end of the decade as the demand for electric vehicles and greener sources of energy continues to increase.

“To help fill this deficit, Ionic Rare Earths wants to accelerate its mining, refining and recycling to align with global policy priorities and off-taker objectives in order to enter these markets.

IonicRE (is) planning to progress the technology with the deployment of modular recycling initiatives in markets looking to develop domestic, secure, and sustainable supply chains to address strategic supply and sovereign security, placing Europe at the epicentre of rare earth element recycling.”

In addition to its Belfast demonstration plant, Ionic Rare Earths also holds a 60% stake in the Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda, where a recent definitive feasibility study for the first of 6 tenements outlined a 35-year mine life for the production of a 71% rich magnet and heavy rare earth carbonate (MREC) product.

Write to Oliver Gray at Mining.com.au

Images: Ionic Rare Earths Ltd
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Written By Oliver Gray
Originally from Perth, Oliver has a keen interest long-form journalism. He has written for a number of publications and was most recently Contributing Editor of The Market Herald’s opinion section, Art of the Essay.

Ionic Rare Earths on the move with phase five drilling at Makuutu Project, Uganda

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has begun a phase five drill program for 4,380m across its Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda. 

The company says the work will be completed across retention licence (RL) 00007 and exploration licences (EL) 00147 and EL00257. The news comes ahead of Ionic’s scheduled attendance at Mines and Money Connect Melbourne on 14 and 15 June 2023.

The aim of the program is to upgrade the Inferred Resources on the RL to an Indicated Resource category and conduct reconnaissance drilling at the ‘large’ exploration targets discovered at both ELs. 

Commenting on the drill program, Ionic Rare Earths Managing Director Tim Harrison says he is excited to resume drilling at Makuutu.

“Further to the substantial base we have defined as part of the stage 1 DFS at Makuutu with the MLA over RL1693 pending, we have ambitious plans for further growth along the 37km long mineralised corridor on our tenements. 

We have ambitious plans for further growth along the 37km long mineralised corridor on our tenements”

With a second rig due to arrive on site in coming weeks, we will complete a substantial amount of core and RAB drilling during this phase five program to provide further growth opportunities and to support the next MLA on the Makuutu western zone.”

Ionic Rare Earths is an ASX-listed mineral exploration company focused on developing its flagship Makuutu Rare Earths Project to production.

Images: Ionic Rare Earths Ltd
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.