Ionic Rare Earths said that DRA Global will enhance project efficiency and offer strategic insights for the Makuutu Project in Uganda.
Ionic Rare Earths Ltd, a rare earth producer, a material vital for the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, has enlisted the services of DRA Global, a globally recognized engineering, project management, and operations firm, to support the progress of its Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project, of which Ionic Rare Earths holds a majority stake. This partnership aims to streamline project delivery, optimize cost-efficiency, and provide valuable input for Ionic Rare Earths’ Final Investment Decision (FID).
As part of this collaboration, DRA Global will undertake a comprehensive review of the project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS), with a focus on identifying avenues for enhanced cost-efficiency, reduced timelines, and increased scale.
Ionic Rare Earths and the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project
The Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project stands as one of the world’s most advanced ionic adsorption clay heavy rare earth element deposits, positioning it among the largest and most promising in terms of development readiness. Notably, the rare earths content within Makuutu’s resource basket comprises an impressive 71% magnet and heavy rare earths. This partnership with DRA Global represents a significant milestone in the project’s journey towards full realization.
A sustainable supply of magnet rare earth oxides
Ionic Rare Earths Managing Director, Tim Harrison, emphasized the importance of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in ensuring a sustainable supply of magnet rare earth oxides. Mr. Harrison remarked, “Our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda positions us to provide a secure, sustainable, and traceable supply of magnet rare earth oxides. Along with our Belfast recycling facility, the Makuutu project is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining, and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths which are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defense.”
DRA Global’s scope of services
DRA Global’s scope of services encompasses various aspects, including the optimization of mining pit design and operations, a detailed review of the Stage One DFS, and Phase Two of the Demonstration Plant at Makuutu. The objective is to identify potential opportunities for overall project enhancement and to attain Class Two estimate accuracy (-15% to +20%). DRA Global will also conduct an in-depth review of the proposed mining philosophy, mining operation, and mine design for the project.
DRA Group boasts nearly four decades of experience across diverse commodities in Africa, with a strong focus on mining, minerals, and metals processing. Their expertise extends to related infrastructure, including water and energy solutions. The collaborative effort will be spearheaded by Ionic Rare Earths’ recently appointed Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Tommie van der Walt, who has previously collaborated with DRA Global on several significant African projects.
van der Walt shared his insights on the collaboration, stating, “DRA Global has successfully delivered several significant mining projects across Africa in varied commodities. DRA will identify any additional value and cost optimization and ensure rigorous review of project parameters ahead of FID. Their positive attitude to challenging conditions and environments, as well as their professional approach to project execution, has served me well in my role as director for various projects.”