energy|installation|mining|project|supply chain

Makuutu rare earths project, Uganda – update

Image of drill core from the Makuutu project

Photo by ©Ionic Rare Earths

26th January 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Makuutu rare earths project.

Uganda, 120 km east of Kampala.

Project Owner/s
Ugandan company Rwenzori Rare Metals (RRM), which owns 100% of the project. Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE) announced an agreement with partners in RRM  in December 2023 to increase the company’s stake in RMM and the Makuutu project from 60% to 94%. IOnicRE is also in discussions with partners on acquiring the remaining 6% ownership.

Project Description
The Stage 1 DFS proposes an openpit mining operation at an annualised mining rate of five-million tonnes a year of mineralisation for total rare-earth oxide equivalent production of 40 090 t.

The maiden ore reserve for Stage 1 over retention licence 1693 is 172.9-million tonnes grading 848 parts per million total rare-earth oxide (TREO) for 146 654 t of contained TREO.

Stage 1 envisages production of 1 300 t/y of rare earths in the first ten years, averaging 1 156 t/y over the estimated 35-year mine life.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $406-million and internal rate of return of 32.7%, with a payback of about three years.

Capital Expenditure
The project has an initial capital expenditure of $120.8-million.

Planned Start/End Date
The project is aiming for a final investment decision later this year, with first product to customers in early 2026.

Latest Developments
IonicRE has reported that RRM has formally received the large-scale mining licence for the central Makuutu tenement.

LML 00334 was officially signed on January 17 at a ceremony in Kampala by Ugandan Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu.

The award represents the first large-scale mining licence to be issued in Uganda under the Mining Act of 2022.

The formal awarding of the licence allows for discussions with potential strategic and supply chain partners to progress to the next stage.

Progress continues to be made at the demonstration plant, which is indicated as critical in derisking the commercialisation of the project through the production of value-added, mixed rare-earth carbonate for the company’s partners to qualify and validate.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
RRM (installation contract); and DRA Global (DFS review).

Contact Details for Project Information
IonicRE, tel +61 3 9776 3434 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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