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     

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.