Ionic welcomes finalisation of updated mining regulations in Uganda

5th September 2023 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earths has welcomed advice that the Ugandan government has approved and gazetted its updated Mining and Minerals (Licencing) Regulations 2023.

Ionic says this is an important precursor to the granting of a mining licence for its 60%-owned Makuutu heavy rare earths project, in Uganda.

“With this milestone, the company can now finalise the mining licence application (MLA) fee payment, which is the final item required in Uganda and clears the path to expedite the award of the mining licence at Makuutu,” says MD Tim Harrison.

The company recently announced progress on the demonstration plant at Makuutu, as well as on the Phase 5 drill programme, which continues on target, with 79 holes completed currently focusing on upgrading the confidence of the existing mineral resource estimate on RL00007.

“Our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu heavy rare earths project, in Uganda, positions us to provide a secure, sustainable and traceable supply of magnet rare earth oxides.

“Along with our Belfast recycling facility [in Ireland], the Makuutu project is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths which are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing and defence,” Harrison acclaims.

He says the company, through Rwenzori Rare Metals, has been in regular dialogue with representatives of the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and other branches of the Ugandan government and is pleased with the progress on approvals.

The fee payment required for the MLA is 20-million Ugandan shillings (about $5 400).

“The time and diligence to legislate Uganda’s new mining regulations shows the government is intent on securing the right balance between growing the economy and ensuring sustainable mining practices,” Harrison posits.

“The company is preparing for a review of the Stage 1 definitive feasibility study at the Makuutu heavy rare earths project through local operating entity Rwenzori prior to initiating an update to support the next phase of development,” he adds.