Makuutu Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Scandium
  • REE
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda is well-supported by existing tier-one infrastructure and is on track to become a long-life, low Capex, scalable and sustainable supplier of high-value magnet and heavy rare earths oxides (REO). In March 2023, was announced a positive stage 1 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the first of six (6) tenements to progress to a Mining Licence Application (MLA) which is pending in Uganda. The Makuutu Stage 1 DFS defined a 35-year life initial project producing a 71% rich magnet and heavy rare earth carbonate (MREC) product basket and the potential for significant potential and scale up through additional tenements.

Construction progressing at the Makuutu Demonstration Plant with foundations laid, steel columns and structure for Technical Facility erected.


Rare Earth Elements Africa Proprietary Ltd. 37.5 % Indirect
Ionic Rare Earths Ltd. 60 % Indirect
The Makuutu Rare Earth Elements project is owned 100% by Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited (RRM), a Uganda registered private limited company.

On April 13, 2023, Ionic Rare Earths announced that it raised its stake by 60% in the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda by acquiring controlling ownership of Ugandan subsidiary Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited (RRM) which owns 100% of the Makuutu Rare Earths Project, following DFS and Ugandan Government approval.

The remaining stake is held by the South African registered Rare Earth Elements Africa Proprietary Limited (REEA) and by Ugandan Partners.

Deposit type

  • Laterite
  • Sedimentary
  • Saprolite


Makuutu is an ionic adsorption clay (IAC) deposit. IAC deposits contain rare earth elements (REE) ionically bonded to the clay rather than existing as primary minerals in the ore. IAC REE mineralisation can be summarised as REEs that are mainly adsorbed onto the surfaces of clay minerals in the form of hydrated ions or hydroxylhydrated ions. These REE deposits are hosted within the regolith (laterite profile).

At Makuutu, the mineralisation is contained within the tropical lateritic weathering profile of a basin filled with sedimentary rocks including shales, mudstones and sandstones potentially derived from the surrounding granitic and mafic rocks. These rocks are considered the original source of the REE which were then accumulated in the sediments of the basin as the surrounding rocks have degraded. These sediments then form the protolith that was subjected to prolonged tropical weathering.

The weathering developed a lateritic regolith with a surface indurated hardcap, followed downward by clay rich zones that grade down through saprolite and saprock to unweathered sediments. The thickness of the regolith is between 10 and 20 metres from surface.

The REE mineralisation is concentrated in the weathered profile where it has dissolved from its primary mineral form, such as monazite and xenotime, then ionically bonded (adsorbed) or colloidally bonded on to fine particles of aluminosilicate clays (e.g., kaolinite, illite, smectite). The adsorbed and colloidal REE is the target for extraction and production of REO at Makuutu.

At Makuutu the top of the mineralised zone is defined by a thin surficial soil/hardcap zone that averages 3 m in thickness (cover zone). The base of the mineralised zone is defined by the top of the saprock/fresh rock boundary which extends to an average vertical depth of 9.0 m (Clay zone).



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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The Base Case assumes the first module will process 2.5Mtpa ROM and produce approximately 800 tpa rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent product. Additionally, the Base Case then assumes given the lowcost capital modular development approach, additional modules will be added in years 2, 4, 6 and 9 to increase the plant throughput up to 12.5Mtpa by year 10.
CommodityProductUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
REE Carbonate t 2,68029,400

Operational metrics

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Ore tonnes mined, LOM  ....  Subscribe
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Tonnes processed, LOM  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2021 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs REE USD  ....  Subscribe
Cash costs REE USD  ....  Subscribe
Assumed price Scandium USD  ....  Subscribe
Assumed price REE USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2021 study / presentation.
** Net of By-Product.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t milled) USD 4.99 *  
Processing costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
Total operating costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2021 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Pre-Production capital costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Expansion CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
OP OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 567
G&A costs $M USD 77
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Net revenue (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
EBITDA (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
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After-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNamePhoneProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Feb 12, 2024
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Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2021


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