Ionic nearing first production in Uganda

7th March 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earths has completed construction and commissioning of Phase 1 of the technical facility and demonstration plant at its Makuutu rare earths project, in Uganda.

Makuutu is being developed by Ionic’s local Ugandan operating entity Rwenzori Rare Metals.

The demonstration plant’s technical equipment has been installed and commissioned with the aim that Phase 1 operations will further optimise metallurgical test work and provide further technical validation for grade control, mine design, materials handling, metallurgical reconciliation and construction activity, while also supporting project financing and strategic partner activity.

At the technical facility, front-end processing of material was completed during February, which included the homogenisation, screening and sizing of materials, which provided critical inputs to the desorption processes.

Also, with the primary construction works completed, the demonstration plant is in the process of ramping up its operations to a 24-hour schedule to further reduce development time to scale up mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) production.

The initial stage of activity at the Makuutu demonstration plant positions Ionic favourably in meeting the growing demand for these elements across the various high-tech industries, the company avers.

“We are delighted to announce the successful completion of our demonstration plant Phase 1 commissioning, with expected first MREC production in the next two weeks.

“This represents another step towards development at Makuutu. This work is essential to validating our mine development plan and generating MREC samples for off-take discussions with potential partners over the next few months.

“The progress at Makuutu also reaffirms our position as a strategic resource for near-term development and a secure, long-term supply of magnet and heavy rare earths for new supply chains to emerge,” highlights MD Tim Harrison