Ionic Rare Earths Ltd (ASX:IXR, OTC:IXRRF) has been kept busy with a range of engagement activities during the September quarter.
This includes development activities at its 51%-owned Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda, a substantial government grant for its magnet recycling subsidiary in the UK, Ionic Technologies (IonicTech), and membership of the UN Global Compact to progress Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Makuutu Rare Earths Project
The company has kicked off the mining lease application (MLA) process at the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda.
Makuutu is operated by Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited, a Ugandan company which is 51% owned by IonicRE, with the company moving to 60% ownership on the completion of a feasibility study.
The project contains one of the world’s largest ionic adsorption clay-hosted rare earth element (REE) deposits, consisting of six licences covering around 300 square kilometres, 120 kilometres east of Kampala in Uganda.
This deposit stretches some 37 kilometres and is situated near high-quality infrastructure.
The licence contains an indicated resource of 259 million tonnes at 740 ppm TREO-CeO2.
Pending the award of the MLA, expected in Q1 2023, the company will be working with Ugandan authorities on a mineral development agreement (MDA) which will establish the fiscal terms for the mine development in Uganda.
Environmental and social impact assessment
The ESIA report was submitted to the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in December 2021 and approved on October 26, 2022.
Two public hearings were completed in early August 2022 in Bugweri and Mayuge districts with significant turnout from NEMA, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), government representatives, district leadership, local communities and stakeholders providing strong support for the project.
Community interest in the project was significant, with 3,800 registered attendees at the Ugandan hearings and 65,000 live Twitter feeds across the two hearings.
UK grant for magnet-recycling arm
Subsidiary Ionic Technologies received a UK Government Grant of £1.72 million (A$2.9 million) from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to accelerate development of a demonstration-scale magnet recycling facility in Belfast, UK.
IonicTech has developed heavy rare earth separation and refining technology and applied this to recycling rare earths within permanent magnets (NdFeB), via hydrometallurgical processing techniques; leaching to extract REE content, separation of individual magnet REEs into high purity streams and refining to 99.9% purity grade rare earth oxides.
The new brand consolidates Ionic Rare Earths’ strategy to become a fully integrated circular economy participant for magnet and heavy rare earths.
Membership of UN Global Compact
In related news, during the quarter Ionic Rare Earths was accepted to the United Nations Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
The company is committed to aligning corporate strategy and operations with the 10 principles of the Global Compact, which consist of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and include provisions on human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption.
In a broader commitment to ESG reporting, Ionic Rare Earths will incorporate the SDGs with other global standards to provide science-based reports on sustainable impact going forward.
Ionic Rare Earths is driven by the realisation that all companies play a crucial part in enforcing human rights, using innovation to solve complex challenges while building a more sustainable world.
This is one of the many programs of reporting and assurance that Ionic Rare Earths is undertaking with respect to climate and environmental responsibility, social licence to operate, business innovation and ethical governance practices.
During the quarter, Ionic Rare Earths continued to progress studies on metallurgical test-work and engineering processes for a standalone heavy rare earth refinery. The scoping study is now expected to be delivered late in the next quarter.