SASKATOON, Oct. 31, 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 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.
Preliminary Economic Assessment:
In line with previous guidance, GWMG remains committed to release a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") during the 4th Quarter of 2012. The purpose of the PEA is to further develop and communicate operational and financial projections for the Company's complete corporate structure based on independent analysis of the mining of rare earth-bearing monazite, extraction to mixed chloride, separation of oxides, and metal and alloy production.
Subsequent to that announcement, the Company has instructed its PEA consultants, Snowden Mining Industry Consultants (Pty) Ltd. ("Snowden") of Johannesburg, South Africa, to extend the original scope of the PEA work to include a new resource estimate for the area of mineralization identified by the Company's Steenkampskraal exploration activities in recent months. The Company anticipates this initiative could result in additional National Instrument 43-101-compliant Inferred and Indicated resource tonnages. The Company will then add this to the provisional mine plan to determine to what extent it could extend the potential life of mine.
The Company expects that even with the expanded scope of work under the PEA, its 4th Quarter 2012 release target will be achieved.
On September 18, 2012, GWMG reported on assays varying from 0.02 to 45.81 weight percent ("wt.%") Total Rare Earth Oxides ("TREO") with an average of 17.74 wt.% TREO from underground channel, resource drill hole and exploration drill hole assays. Within the drill program that was reported, covering 83 drill holes, true thickness varied from 0.02 metres to 6.67 metres and averaged 0.92 metres.
As of October 18, 2012, GWMG has now completed 106 drill holes over a total of 12,634.29 metres. Assay results will continue to be released once analyzed. Shipments of samples to SGS Laboratories of Johannesburg, South Africa are ongoing and as a result the Company expects that the Steenkampskraal drill program will continue to produce assay results subsequent to the cut-off point for inclusion in the updated resource estimate that is included in the upcoming PEA.
Steenkampskraal Surface Refurbishment:
GWMG has recently completed additional work on surface facilities at Steenkampskraal as it prepares for administration and mining activity at the Steenkampskraal site. These include:
- An updated survey has been conducted by the Radiation Protection Officer and his team in preparation for zoning for the start of construction of the mixed chloride plant.
- The offices near the Steenkampskraal entrance gate are now fully functional.
- The scrap yard has been cleared up with scrap sorted into various classifications.
- The surface soil around the old slimes residues has been remodeled to prevent potential radiation migration.
- The old building ruins that had been in place since mining activities in the 1960's have been cleared.
- The regular watering of roads in, and to, the Steenkampskraal site, using water from the reverse osmosis water treatment plant, has led to significantly reduced levels of dust generation.
- The wash down area for vehicles, the new gate house and weigh bridge are now installed.
Steenkampskraal Underground Refurbishment:
GWMG has also completed several underground refurbishment steps as it prepares for mining activity at the Steenkampskraal site. These include:
- A new ventilation system with a set of three fans is being installed near the top of the decline for purposes of pulling air underground through the mine. Ingress of fresh air will be through the decline as well as through the vertical secondary exit shaft.
- The new ropes, winder and head gear will undergo commissioning trials early in 2013.
Mixed Chloride Plant:
As noted in GWMG's Corporate Update of August 30, 2012, the position of the mixed chloride plant at the Steenkampskraal site has been finalized after sterilization drilling at the first two locations found significant monazite mineralization beneath them. The geotechnical work as well as the radioactivity survey at the area of the site that has been chosen for the planned 5,000 tonnes per annum mixed chloride plant is now complete.
Evaluation of long-lead items and time-critical project components is underway. In addition, design work has begun for the installation of tanks, pumps, dispensing, pipework and blending equipment that will be needed to accept deliveries of commercial chemicals at the mixed chloride plant. The Company has selected DRA Group of South Africa as the contractor on the current work program.
Solvent Extraction Separation Plant:
The preliminary layouts for the solvent extraction separation plant have been completed in China. GWMG will now continue to develop those plans according to South African construction and operations standards.
The solvent extraction separation plant project is being overseen by GWMG Vice-President Metallurgy Baodong Zhao, Technical Consultant Xinbin Rui, Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. ("Rareco") Technical Manager Witker Zimba, GWMG Vice-President Operations Richard Hogan and Rareco Operations General Manager Vic Fitzmaurice.
The CEO recruitment process continues to work toward the appointment of the Company's new Chief Executive Officer within the previously stated target of 2012. The Search Committee, consisting of Interim CEO Robert Quinn, and independent Directors Bill McKnight, George Ireland and Ian McNaughton, reports that high quality candidates who are attracted to a unique, multi-faceted, high growth opportunity have displayed a very strong interest in the position. The Search Committee is working with Korn/Ferry International, a global executive recruitment agency which has conducted in excess of 10,000 senior-level searches worldwide, in the selection phase of the process.
Baodong Zhao has been appointed Vice-President, Metallurgy. Dr. Zhao is responsible for oversight of the implementation of critical technological applications of metallurgy in all aspects of GWMG's business development and expansion planning. Dr. Zhao holds a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in Physical Chemistry in Metallurgical Processes from the University of Science and Technology in Beijing and a Ph. D. in Chemistry from Queen's University.
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 South Africa. 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 at Hoidas Lake; 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 solvent extraction separation facility, mine refurbishment activities, reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines and 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 Canada, 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 Hoidas Lake or 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 Canada and South Africa, radioactivity and related issues, dependence on one mineral project; loss of, and the inability to attract, 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.