ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earth (IonicRE) has unlocked a pivotal milestone in its Ugandan ambitions, securing the first large-scale mining licence (LML) ever issued under the country’s revamped Mining Act of 2022.
The granted LML 00334, officially signed by Ugandan Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, covers the central tenement of the Makuutu heavy rare earth project, solidifying its status as a flagship development backed by strong government support.
This landmark achievement follows IonicRE’s strategic move in December 2023 to bolster its ownership in Rwenzori Rare Metals, the Makuutu project holder, from 60% to 94%. Negotiations for the remaining 6% are ongoing.
Fast-tracking Growth: With the mining licence secured, IonicRE is aiming for a final investment decision (FID) on the project later this year, targeting the first rare earth production for customers in early 2026. This aggressive timeline is fueled by ongoing discussions with potential strategic and supply chain partners eager to tap into Makuutu’s rich magnet and heavy rare earth (HRE) deposits, crucial for advanced manufacturing, clean energy technologies, and defence applications.
De-risking the Path: Alongside securing the licence, IonicRE is making headway on its Makuutu demonstration plant, a critical step in derisking commercialization by producing value-added mixed rare earth carbonate. This will allow partners to qualify and validate the project’s potential, further solidifying Makuutu’s global appeal.
Heavyweight in the HRE Arena: “The formal mining licence award reinforces Makuutu as one of the world’s largest and most advanced HRE projects,” declared IonicRE Managing Director Tim Harrison. “With the demonstration plant nearing completion and partnerships discussions progressing, we look forward to unlocking Makuutu’s potential and becoming a key player in the global HRE supply chain, supporting the energy transition and beyond.”
By; Banji Kalenga