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Makuutu, Uganda


Advanced stage, low capital, long-life, ionic adsorption clay project

The Makuutu Rare Earths Project is rare – it is one of very few proven Ionic Adsorption Clay (IAC) deposits, globally, with scale to move the needle on heavy Rare Earth Oxide (REO) supply for the new economy – for 50 years and beyond!

Set to become Uganda’s flagship mine, the Makuutu Project will be an environmentally and socially sustainable, low-cost development.

Ionic Rare Earths is the 60% owner of Rwenzori Rare Metals Ltd, the Ugandan company that owns the Makuutu Project. Ionic Rare Earths has agreed with partners to move to a 94% ownership later in 2024.


The Makuutu deposit is comprised of six licenses covering approximately 300 km2 located 120 km east of Kampala in Uganda. The defined mineralisation stretches 37km long and is situated near high quality tier one infrastructure. Simple mining and low CAPEX processing will produce Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate (MREC) with no radionuclides (Uranium and Thorium).

The Makuutu basket contains a high proportion of magnet and heavy rare earths; including a near-perfect split of magnet rare earths Nd, Pr, Dy and Tb, required for developing the high intensity permanent magnets required for EVs and offshore wind turbines. This basket provides Ionic Rare Earths with a significant opportunity to realise downstream value addition.

The Mining License Application is finalised and pending award. Additionally, Makuutu is a scalable asset offering huge value through exploration upside along the 37km mineralisation trend. Currently, greater than 95% of the world supply of heavy REOs is from declining reserves of IACs in southern China and Myanmar, where sustainability standards are below requirements for western supply chains.

A key characteristic of Makuutu is the geology. The clays of Makuutu, which is similar to the ionic clay-type deposits of southern China and Myanmar, present a low-cost mining, extraction and processing opportunity, and are the most readily accessible global source of heavy REOs. The Makuutu Project will use simple open pit mining and heap desorption processing methods.

The Makuutu IAC deposit has a mineral resource estimate of 617 million tonnes, with enormous upside potential through further exploration. The benefit of IACs is that the deposit is at surface allowing for the development of a low capital, modular project – starting with 5 million tonnes per annum and ability to scale up in time to meet increasing demand and aligned with downstream processing capacity.

With growing demand for magnet and heavy REOs, and customers increasingly looking for sustainable supplies – the Makuutu deposit along with Ionic Rare Earths refining, and recycling division, will add value to the environment through the circularity of supply chains.

Makuutu Mineral Resource Estimate above 200ppm TREO cut-off (ASX: 15 May 2024)

Resource Classification Tonnes
Indicated Resource 517 650 440 470 170 220 30
Inferred Resource 99 560 380 420 140 190 30
Total Resource 617 630 430 460 160 210 30


The revised Exploration Target, updated on 15 May 2024 MRE, indicated a range for additional potential mineralisation at Makuutu had been estimated at;

277 – 750 million tonnes grading 400 – 700 ppm TREO*

*This Exploration Target is conceptual in nature but is based on reasonable grounds and assumptions. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource.

Makuutu Rare Earths Project Tenement Details

Licence ID Licence Type Application Date Granted Date Expiry / Renewal Date Area (km2)
RL00007 Retention 12/12/2022 20/12/2022 26/11/2024 43.38
LML00334 Mining 01/09/2022 28/12/2023 27/12/2044 43.78
RL00234 Retention 26/06/2021 06/07/2021 05/07/2024 47.03
EL00257 Exploration 15/07/2021 21/10/2021 20/10/2024 55.51
EL00147 Exploration 01/09/2023 Approved – Pending Pending 60.30
EL00148 Exploration 01/09/2023 Approved – Pending Pending 48.15

Makuutu’s social licence to operate

The Makuutu Rare Earths Project has already begun to transform the lives of local Ugandans through inclusive social development growth programs and employment opportunities.

As mining progresses and exploration expands at Makuutu – the Project will continue to support local communities and economic development by unlocking Uganda’s green energy mineral revolution.

The Makuutu Rare Earths Project will integrate best practice into the flowsheet to minimise the potential for impact on the environment.


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