The MoU includes the potential for off-take agreements for rare earth product produced by IonicRE
Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE) has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aluminum Corporation of China’s (Chinalco) subsidiary to advance the development of the Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda.
The MoU has been signed with China Rare Metals and Rare Earth (Jiangsu).
Located 120km east of Kampala, the Makuutu rare earths project is an ionic adsorption clay (IAC) hosted Rare Earth Element (REE) deposit.
The current resource at the project is identified over a 20km length.
With an operation life of more than 30 years, the project is said to have the potential of generating a high margin product. It is also prospective for a low-cost Scandium co-product.
Under the terms of the MoU, Chinalco has been granted exclusivity to progress discussions on strategic cooperation to accelerate Makuutu to production for the term of 12 months.
IonicRE managing director Tim Harrison said: “From the outset of our discussions, it was clear that there existed a key alignment between IonicRE and Chinalco on the development of Makuutu.
“We greatly welcome their expertise in de-risking the technical development and engineering, maximising the strategic value of Makuutu and its importance in the longer-term global rare earths supply chain.
“We see Makuutu rapidly growing into a very large, long life producer of critical and heavy rare earths. Partnering with Chinalco potentially fast tracks the development process for Makuutu and will greatly assist in value creation for IonicRE.”
According to IonicRE, the Makuutu project has the advantage of receiving of cheap power, with the presence of four hydroelectric power plants located within 65 km of the project area.
The MoU includes the potential for off-take agreements for rare earth product produced by IonicRE.