Update on Steenkampskraal Rare Earth Chloride Plant, LCM Alloy Production, GWTI Project, CEO Search and PEA
Corporate Update - As at November 26, 2012
SASKATOON, Nov. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -
Great Western Minerals Group's ("GWMG") wholly-owned South African subsidiary, Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited ("Rareco") has contracted with DRA Mineral Projects (Pty) Ltd. ("DRA") of South Africa to review and complete the remaining work relating to the decline shaft refurbishment and hoisting equipment commissioning. Rareco has terminated its contract with East Rand Engineering Services for these services due to a commercial disagreement. DRA is part of a highly qualified and experienced South African based mining and engineering group with a global customer base of mining and processing companies. DRA is also continuing with the design and engineering work as the main contractor for the mixed rare earth chloride facility at Steenkampskraal.
Less Common Metals:
Less Common Metals ("LCM") of Birkenhead, United Kingdom, has been actively working with its customers to deliver rare earth alloys using the new strip cast furnace. A series of trials designed to optimize melt conditions that produce various grades of product have been conducted enabling LCM to thoroughly investigate the full range of furnace process parameters. Through that rigorous process, LCM has established best practices and has achieved reproducible, standardized melts on a routine basis. These melts have been submitted to one of LCM's key customers for evaluation. Programs have also been established to supply all other LCM customers with evaluation materials.
The second strip cast furnace ordered from the same Chinese supplier is now completely fabricated and LCM personnel were at the manufacturer's plant in November for inspection and commissioning trials. The second furnace for LCM's Hooton Park location is scheduled to arrive in the latter part of the 1st Quarter 2013 with the plan that it will be fully operational early in the 2nd Quarter 2013.
The general markets for rare earth alloys have remained relatively healthy, albeit exhibiting a limited degree of impact from low rates of global economic growth. LCM notes that there has been a concentrated and potentially successful effort on the part of customers and researchers to reduce the use of Dysprosium, an element that remains in short supply globally, in many of these alloys. This has, in turn, led to renewed confidence on the part of customers in respect to the sustainability of the rare earth supply chain, notably for Neodymium, which remains the material of choice for the high performance permanent magnet market.
The recent softening of rare earth prices has also restored confidence levels on the part of LCM customers who have continued to express strong support for GWMG's corporate vision to provide rare earth materials via a supply chain that is reliable, sustainable and free from political restriction.
The Company will conduct a tour of the LCM facilities for analysts and newsletter writers on Thursday, November 29, 2012.
Great Western Technologies Inc.:
As announced on October 1, 2012, GWMG's wholly owned subsidiary, Great Western Technologies Inc. ("GWTI") of Troy, Michigan, was selected by the United States Department of Defense to conduct a supply chain assessment of military use of high-purity Yttrium oxide and a study of material optimization and recycling methods. The study is now underway with a team comprised of GWTI personnel and external resources. GWMG expects the project can position the Company as a valued participant in the United States rare earth industry.
The CEO recruitment process continues to progress toward the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer. The Search Committee, consisting of Interim CEO Robert Quinn, and independent Directors George Ireland and Ian McNaughton, are working through the selection process with the assistance of the highly experienced executive recruitment agency Korn/Ferry International.
Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA"):
GWMG reports excellent progress on the part of Snowden Mining Industry Consultants Inc. ("Snowden"), the independent contractor working on the up-date of the resource calculation and completion of the PEA within the previously stated time target of the 4th Quarter of 2012. The Company looks forward to the release of the PEA as an opportunity to communicate confirmation of its capital expenditure projections for the Steenkampskraal operation, financial projections for its fully integrated "Mines-to-Metals" business model and key elements of the Company's operations going forward.
Great Western Minerals Group Summary:
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. intends to be an integrated rare earth producer. The Company currently produces specialty alloys which 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 and the results of its preliminary economic assessment of the Steenkampskraal project, 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 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 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 Professional Securities Market listing particulars available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.