Ionic Rare Earths Limited’s (ASX: IXR) Mining Licence Application (MLA) process for the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda has been initiated.
Makuutu is being developed by Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited (RRM), a Ugandan private company which owns 100% of the Makuutu Project. Ionic is a 51% owner of RRM and moving to 60%.
The MLA will focus on the Makuutu Central Zone (MCZ), located within Retention Licence (RL) 1693, and will provide the basis for initial mining at Makuutu.
This area contains an Indicated Resource of 259 million tonnes at 740 ppm TREO-CeO2.
Advice received indicates that with an initial focus on this 44 sq. km licence the company will be able to accelerate development as opposed to an MLA over the total Makuutu Project area of approximately 300 sq. km where mining in some areas would not take place for well over 20 years in the future.
“The MLA application marks a significant milestone for the company and comes only three years after Ionic obtained an interest in the project,” Managing Director, Tim Harrison, said.
“My congratulations and thanks go to the Makuutu team who have delineated one of the world’s largest rare earth ionic clay deposits and can now look forward to an accelerated and de-risked development project.”
The MLA comes after two ESIA public hearings were completed in early August 2022 in Bugweri and Mayuge Districts, Uganda. The total registered attendees at the hearings over the two days amounted to 3,800 persons with significant turnout from the National Environmental Management Authority, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, government representatives, district leadership, local communities and other stakeholders.
Strong support for the project was evident during those hearings.
Discussion with Ugandan government officials indicate that the ESIA submitted in December 2021, which also focused on RL 1693, is in the final stages of assessment and is expected to be approved shortly.
Pending the award of the MLA, the Company, via RRM, will be working with Ugandan authorities on a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) which will establish the fiscal terms for the mine development in Uganda.
The next tenement due for renewal is RL 00007, otherwise known as the Makuutu Western Zone (MWZ), which is due by November 27, 2022. The renewal will be initiated with the Phase 5 drill programme to include additional resource drilling in these areas to convert the Inferred Resource to an Indicated Resource classification.
For further information please visit: https://ionicre.com.au/