ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earths has announced an updated exploration target and the associated planning of the Phase 5 exploration programme at its 51% owned Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda.
Makuutu is an ionic adsorption clay (IAC) hosted rare earth element (REE) deposit located 120 km east of Kampala in Uganda and is well serviced by existing high quality infrastructure including roads, rail, power infrastructure and cell communications.
The deposit stretches 37 km in length and has demonstrated potential for a long life, low-cost capital source of magnet and heavy REEs. These IAC deposits are prevalent in southern China which have been the source of the world’s lowest cost magnet and heavy REE production, however these deposits are gradually being exhausted and Makuutu represents one of only a handful of such deposits outside of southern China.
Following the recent update to its Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) to 532 million tonnes at 640ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO), above a cut-off grade of 200 parts per million (ppm) TREO minus CeO2 (TREO-CeO2), a review has been conducted to establish further exploration potential at Makuutu and plan the work programmes to be conducted over the next 12 months. The revised exploration Target, which is additional to the 3 May 2022 MRE, range for additional potential mineralisation at Makuutu has been estimated at 216 – 535 million tonnes grading 400 – 600 ppm TREO.
Ionic Rare Earths MD commented Tim Harrison commented, “The long-term exploration potential is immense. This updated exploration target, which factors in the successful Phase 3 RAB drilling assay results from July 2021, confirms the massive potential of EL00147, having identified immediate extensions to the resource estimate beyond previous radiometric targeting. Additionally, the new tenement at EL00257 would provide additional upside beyond this target.”