Ionic Rare Earths marks Makuutu’s ‘major’ milestone

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has flagged a ‘major’ milestone of the first production of mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) from its newly commissioned demonstration plant on site at the Makuutu project in Uganda. 

The $82.35 million market capitalisation company reports the MREC produced is rich in both magnet and heavy rare earth elements (REEs), and presents a key alternative, strategic future source for supply constrained dysprosium and terbium, from which 98% of global supply comes from China. 

Ionic says the demonstration plant has displayed rapid progress through achieving this milestone within just 9 months of breaking ground in Uganda, and 2 months after receiving its ‘large-scale’ mining licence at Makuutu. 

Managing Director Tim Harrison says to now be a functioning technical facility producing magnet and heavy rare earths is a testament to the focus and expertise of the entire team. 

“Achieving this major milestone, safely within such a short timeframe underscores our commitment to developing Makuutu as a disruptor to existing supply chains, providing an alternative, secure, sustainable, and traceable source of heavy rare earths for new supply chains to emerge. 

This in combination 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.”

Ionic is continuing to ramp up MREC production at Makuutu in order to generate a sufficient mass of product to provide samples to several groups that have requested samples for further evaluation. 

The company currently owns 60% of Makuutu and has agreed terms with partners in Rwenzori Rare Metals on increasing its ownership to 94%, subject to shareholder approval and satisfying conditions precedent, which is expected in H1 2024. 

Ionic Rare Earths is focused on adopting sustainable practices, working with strategic partners, and creating technological innovations through separated magnet and heavy rare earths. 

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $4.538 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

Images: Ionic Rare Earths
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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.