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Makuutu licence to be issued soon

A mining license for the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earth Project in Busoga, Eastern Uganda will be issued soon, more than a year since the first application was made, the company said.

Australia’s Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE), which owns 60 per cent of the project, says it recently received notification that the large-scale mining license TN03834 for Makuutu has been approved-for-granting over Re- tention License (RL) 1693 by the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM).

Rwenzori Rare Metals, which owns the other 40 per cent in the Makuutu project, has been pursuing the license locally for a while.

The IonicRE statement notes: “… the MLA has been signed and gazetted in Uganda paving the way for the formal issuance of the Mining License once the first annual fees have been paid and land access to the RL1693 has been verified by the Ugandan department.”

Surface rights acquisition by a company is important before a mining license is issued in Uganda. Recently, Ruth Nankabirwa, the minister of Energy and Mineral Development, spoke highly of the project at the Africa Down Under (ADU) mining conference in Perth, Australia.

A clear framework for mineral development in Uganda was created once the updated Mining and Minerals (Licencing) Regulations 2023 were gazzeted in August this year. Before the new Mining and Minerals Act 2022 and regulations were passed, licensing had been put on hold.

IonicRE announced a positive feasibility study over RL1693 earlier this year and received ap- proval to build a Demonstration Plant at Makuutu, which it says is progressing well.

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