SASKATOON, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. ("GWMG" or the "Company") Corporate Holdings:
- 1 former producing mine: Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa: Under development.
- 1 rare earth mixed chloride production plant at Steenkampskraal: Under development.
- 1 rare earth solvent extraction separation plant near Steenkampskraal: Under development.
- 2 rare earth alloy manufacturing plants: Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM") in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. ("GWTI") in Troy, Michigan: In operation.
- 5 rare earth exploration projects: 1 at Steenkampskraal, 4 in North America.
GWMG continues to focus its efforts on being an integrated mine-to-market permanent magnet alloy producer. With the continuing, positive developments at the Company's South African operations, the Company is actively evaluating strategic alternatives relating to the spinoff of the exploration assets outside of South Africa. The purpose is to continue to focus GWMG on achieving the completion of, and first cash flows from, the Steenkampskraal operation.
Due to the continuing and highly successful exploration drilling program at Steenkampskraal, the Company plans to provide an updated National Instrument 43-101 technical report and resource estimate in 2012. It is to include the assay results reported in GWMG news releases to date.
The surface refurbishment of the Steenkampskraal project is moving toward its scheduled completion with the construction of containment ponds and the finalization of the headgear, winder and associated electrical equipment.
The development of the Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine is managed in accordance with the requirements of the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa, with all activities and authorizations being up to date. Recent progress has been achieved in authorization of pumping and storage of mine water, approval from the Department of Energy for transport of materials, and submission of worker safety assessments for the forthcoming chloride plant building phase.
GWMG is in the process of awarding the contract for the next phase of underground mining preparations that focuses on the bottom portion of the decline. It is expected this part of the refurbishment project can be completed in approximately two months.
Mixed Chloride Production:
The first monetization of the output of Steenkampskraal will come on the completion of the mixed chloride plant that will be completed on the site of the mine itself. At this point, the Company continues to estimate that the build time remains as projected at the time of the convertible bond offering (see: GWMG news release, March 14, 2012).
The decision on the final position of the mixed chloride production plant to be located at the Steenkampskraal site has been revisited twice since the two initial locations proved, after sterilization drilling, to have significant monazite mineralization beneath them. A final site has now been selected and approved for construction.
As communicated during the CEO Conference Call of August 22, 2012 the final DRA report on capital expenditures, operating expenditures and time lines for the mixed chloride production plant is expected to be received in September 2012.
Solvent Extraction Separation:
Savannah Environmental (Pty) Ltd., of Gauteng, South Africa, has prepared a Basic Assessment Report, which addresses all regulatory and environmental requirements for projects located on the industrial zoned land on which GWMG plans to construct its separation plant. As part of the public consultation process, which concluded on July 31, 2012, Company officials have been meeting with municipal officers and members of the public at community forums. (Report at www.gwmg.ca/savannah)
As communicated during the CEO Conference Call of August 22, 2012 the Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Ltd. ("GQD") report on capital expenditures, operating expenditures and time lines for the solvent extraction separation plant is expected to be received in September 2012.
Metal and Alloy Manufacturing:
As Less Common Metals works toward its first commercial shipment of alloys using the new strip cast furnace, LCM is also planning for the installation of its second strip cast furnace, scheduled for delivery in 2012.
The first two cells required for metal making, which are fully permitted under U.K. environmental regulations, are installed.
LCM will monitor the progress of the Steenkampskraal mining operation and from that it will determine its schedule for the installation of additional metal making cells in a manner that matches LCM's production capacity with the availability of oxides from Steenkampskraal.
The CEO recruitment process continues to be guided by the Search Committee consisting of GWMG Board members Robert Quinn, George Ireland and Ian McNaughton. Strong candidates, with a successful history of leading integrated companies in complex industries, are being interviewed. If current candidates do not meet the criteria of the Search Committee, an international executive recruitment firm will be mandated to conduct the search. The Company expects the recruitment process to be completed in 2012.
Great Western Minerals Group Summary:
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is an integrated rare earth processor. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. Produced at the Company's wholly owned subsidiaries Less Common Metals Limited in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain aluminum, nickel, cobalt and Rare Earth Elements. As part of the Company's vertical integration strategy, GWMG also holds 100% equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which owns a 74% equity interest in the Steenkampskraal Mine. In addition to an exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG also holds interests in four active rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements (often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "expect", "may", "could", "anticipate" or "will" and similar expressions) may describe expectations, opinions or guidance that are not statements of fact and which may be based upon information provided by third parties. Forward-looking statements are based upon the opinions, expectations and estimates of management of GWMG as at the date the statements are made and are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Those factors include, but are not limited to, the successful and timely completion of its preliminary economic assessment and its results, the construction, commissioning and operation of the proposed monazite processing facility and separation facility, mine refurbishment activities, reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines, commencement of production at Steenkampskraal, risks related to the receipt of all required approvals including those relating to the commencement of production at the Steenkampskraal mine, delays in obtaining permits, licenses and operating authorities in South Africa and China, environmental matters, water and land use risks, risks associated with the industry in general, commodity prices and exchange rate changes, operational risks associated with exploration, development and production operations, delays or changes in plans, risks associated with the uncertainty of reserve or resource estimates, health and safety risks, uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses, risks that future Steenkampskraal and region exploration results may not meet exploration or corporate objectives, the adequacy of the Company's financial resources and the availability of additional cash from operations or from financing on reasonable terms or at all, political risks inherent in South Africa and China, risks associated with the relationship between GWMG and/or its subsidiaries and communities and governments in South Africa, radioactivity and related issues, dependence on one mineral project, loss of key personnel, the factors discussed in the Company's public disclosure record, and other factors that could cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated. In light of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon forward-looking information. Although GWMG believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements set out in this press release or incorporated herein by reference are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Except as required by law, GWMG does not assume any obligation to update forward looking statements as set out in this news release. The forward-looking statements of GWMG contained in this News Release, or incorporated herein by reference, are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement and the risk factors contained in GWMG's annual information form available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.