Ionic Rare Earths


Primary ticker: ASX:IXR
Stage of development: Exploration, Development
Primary minerals: Rare Earths
Project to promote: Makuutu Project
Project location: Uganda

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) is focused on developing its flagship Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda into a significant, long life, high margin, supplier of high-value magnet and heavy rare earths oxides (REO). Makuutu is an advanced-stage, ionic adsorption clay (IAC) hosted rare earth element (REE) project highlighted by near-surface mineralization, significant exploration upside, excellent metallurgical characteristics, and access to tier one infrastructure. The clay-hosted geology at Makuutu is similar to major IAC rare earths projects in southern China, which are responsible for the majority of global supply of low-cost rare earths, specifically the high value magnet metals (Dysprosium and Terbium) Heavy REOs (>98% originating from IAC). A recently updated JORC Mineral Resource Estimate has delivered 70% increase to over 500 million tonnes and 500%+ increase in indicated resource base. Makuutu is well-supported by tier-one existing infrastructure which includes access to major highways, roads, power, water and a professional workforce.

Cash: AUD$26.8M (30 June 2022)
Debt: NIL

Major shareholders:

Mr Bilal Ahmad – 4.64%
Mr Sufian Ahmad – 4.62%
Ms Chunyan Niu – 2.73%
BNP Paribas Noms – 4.51%
Management Ownership – 11%

Management Profile

Tim Harrison – Managing Director

Tim Harrison is the Managing Director of Ionic Rare Earths Limited. Tim has been driving development and value creation at IonicRE since he initially joined as Makuutu Rare Earths Project Manager in February 2020, was later appointed CEO in June 2020, and finally appointed MD in December 2020.

Tim has over 20 years of experience and an extensive and successful track record in the fields of both mineral processing and hydrometallurgy, that has involved roles in the full life cycle of project development to operations. Tim holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from Adelaide University.

What is your rationale for taking part in 121 Mining Investment?

We are looking for cornerstone and strategic institutional investment to support the next phase of development (Feasibility Study and Demonstration Plant) to advance Makuutu Rare Earths Project to FID in late 2022.

What recent news would you like to highlight to investors attending?

3 October 2022 – Ionic Joins the United Nations Global Impact

– Ionic Rare Earths has been accepted as a participant of the United Nations Global Compact
– The United Nations Global Compact is the World’s largest corporate sustainability initiative
– Ionic is committed to align corporate strategy and operations with the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact
– The Ten Principles consist of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fall under the four pillars of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption
– Ionic will deliver an annual Communication on Progress (CoP) to the United Nations Global Compact
– In a broader commitment to ESG reporting, Ionic will incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with other global standards to provide science-based reports on sustainable impact going forward

30 September 2022 – Ionic Technologies the New Name in Magnet Recycling

Ionic Rare Earths announces the launch of Ionic Technologies International Ltd (“IonicTech”). IonicTech is the rebranded 100% owned subsidiary (formerly Seren Technologies Ltd) based in Belfast UK, which the Company acquired earlier in 2022. IonicTech has developed separation and refining technology, and applied this to magnet rare earth extraction and refining recovery from permanent magnet recycling. The new brand consolidates upon IonicRE’s strategy to become a fully integrated circular economy participant for critical magnet and heavy rare earths.

12 September 2022 – Mining Licence Application Process Commenced at Makuutu

Ionic advises the Mining Licence Application (MLA) process for the Makuutu Rare Earths Project has been initiated. Makuutu is being developed by Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited (“RRM”), a Ugandan private company which owns 100% of the Makuutu Project. IonicRE is a 51% owner of RRM and moving to 60%. The MLA will focus on the Makuutu Central Zone (MCZ), located within Retention Licence (RL) 1693, and will provide the basis for initial mining at Makuutu. This area contains an Indicated Resource of 259 million tonnes at 740 ppm TREO-CeO2. Advice received indicates that with an initial focus on this 44km2 licence the Company will be able to accelerate development as opposed to a MLA over the total Makuutu Project area of approximately 300km2 where mining in some areas would not take place for well over 20 years in the future.

8 September 2022 – UK Government Grant of 1.7 Million GBP

– Grant award of £1.72 million (approximately A$2.9 million) from the UK Government Advanced Propulsion Centre (“APC”) to develop a demonstration scale magnet recycling plant
– APC is supporting the UK Government deliver its aspiration for net-zero carbon across the automotive industry
– New facility secured in Belfast, UK, will house magnet recycling technology at demonstration scale to secure critical rare earth metals for renewable energy applications and reduce sovereign risk
– The demonstration scale plant will produce separated individual high purity rare earth oxides (“REO”) from recycling waste magnets and swarf, suitable for high specification magnets in the EV and offshore wind sectors

What are your key goals in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months?

3 Months:
– Ongoing exploration activity – RAB Phase 3 metallurgical testwork
– Finalise Makuutu Project Approvals

6 Months:
– Makuutu Feasibility Study
– Refinery Scoping Study for downstream opportunity

What do you see as the key risks and challenges facing your company at the moment and how are you overcoming these?

Time – we are looking to expedite work to bring the project to production in an accelerated timeframe. To achieve this we need to raise additional funding to support the program.
Funds – to support accelerated program. We are actively looking for the right strategic partner to bring Makuutu to production.
Awareness – market has very little knowledge of ionic adsorption clay deposits so we have attempted to raise awareness of strategic importance, basket content and long term importance of Makuutu to provide long term alternative, secure and traceable heavy rare earth supply.

What do you think makes your company such a compelling investment?

As an ionic adsorption clay (IAC), Makuutu is rare and considered a highly sought after ‘holy grail of rare earth mineralisation’.
The dominance of the Chinese rare earth industry is underpinned by their ability to produce vast quantities of CREO/HREOs from ionic adsorption clays. IACs have a lower capital hurdle and higher pay ability product which make IACs more valuable sources of REOs with Chinese IAC’s being heavily overmined over the past 30 years, the Chinese have diminished reserves and were forced to implement quotas to prioritise internal supply
As a long life asset, Makuutu stands to benefit greatly given its low-cost, long-life, and high-margin CREO/HREO product attributes.

What are the top 3 key investor takeaways?

– The Basket; High content of critical and heavy rare earths required to enable transition to carbon neutrality.
– Low capital development; Scalable modular approach means that we can expand the operation from initial capital investment using free cash flows from the project.
– Long life; 27 years defined but scope to increase this to be much greater with additional exploration upside pending.