Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : GWG
OTCQX : GWMGF

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

July 21, 2011 10:10 ET

Great Western Minerals Group: Corporate Update

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - July 21, 2011) -

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF) ("GWMG") Corporate Holdings:

  • 1 Rare Earths former producer: Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. GWMG holds controlling interest in the mine through its 100% shareholding of Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. ("Rareco").
  • 2 Rare Earths processing plants: Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM") in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. ("GWTI") in Troy, Michigan.
  • 7 Rare Earths exploration projects: 1 planned project at the Steenkampskraal site, 6 projects in North America.

GWMG Corporate Focus:

GWMG continues to execute its strategic plan to become a leading, fully integrated, "mines to markets" Rare Earths producer supplying its own Rare Earth inputs into its production and processing cycle.

Annual and Special Meeting Update (July 12, 2011) Resolutions:

  • "BE IT RESOLVED that KPMG LLP, Chartered Accountants, be appointed as the auditor of the Company, to hold office until the next annual general meeting of shareholders at remuneration to be fixed by the directors." – Approved.
  • "BE IT RESOLVED that the persons listed in the information circular for this meeting be elected as directors of the Company, to hold office until the next annual meeting of shareholders or until their successor is duly elected unless their office is earlier vacated in accordance with the Articles of the Company and the Canada Business Corporations Act or unless he becomes disqualified to act as a director." – Approved.
  • "BE IT RESOLVED that, subject to TSX Venture Exchange ("TSXV") approval, the Stock Option Plan attached as Appendix B to the information circular for this meeting is hereby approved, subject to such amendments as may be required by the TSXV." – Approved.
  • "BE IT RESOLVED THAT the continuation of the Shareholder Rights Plan of the Company as set out in the Shareholder Rights Plan Agreement dated March 6, 2008 (the "Rights Plan Agreement") between the Company and Computershare Investor Services Inc., as rights agent (a summary of which is included in the Information Circular of the Company dated June 13, 2011, is hereby ratified, until the end of the annual meeting of shareholders in the year 2014." – Approved.

Excerpts from AGM Speech by GWMG President and CEO Jim Engdahl:

  • GWMG is a company with an outstanding opportunity to be a fully integrated Rare Earth producer. Even moreso, GWMG has created the opportunity for its shareholders to own a "first mover" in the Rare Earth industry.
  • What you will see, I believe, as we look back at this past year is a recurring theme: "We did what we said we would do."
  • A year ago, we indicated that we planned to double the capacity of Less Common Metals. As at today, we are expecting delivery of the first furnace by November 2011 and are submitting the order for the second. This will double our capacity at LCM.
  • We communicated our expectation that revenues and margins would improve within our alloy processing operations. For the year ended December 31, 2010, revenues from Less Common Metals and Great Western Technologies Inc. were $15.1 million, a 26% increase over 2009. Gross margins on manufacturing and processing operations were $4.5 million for 2010, a 48% increase over 2009. We believe that is concrete evidence of "doing what we said we would do".
  • At last year's AGM, we indicated that we had targeted moving toward production in the very latter part of 2013. During this past year we developed a fast track schedule. Early 2013 is our new target date – almost one year ahead of the original schedule.
  • We said we planned to look at the full feasibility study to determine if we could produce a National Instrument 43-101 earlier in the process. We have moved ahead on the NI 43-101 and expect it to be completed by November 2011.
  • We indicated we would evaluate a drilling program at the Steenkampskraal site. GWMG announced in June that it is moving ahead with that exploration program.
  • Looking ahead, one thing is clear. This will be the most exciting year in the history of the company.
  • We plan to complete an NI 43-101 resource estimate and move Steenkampskraal toward production, expand our alloy processing capacity, execute a tightly focused exploration program and develop the processing and separation facilities that will move us into the "fully integrated producer" category.
  • We will continue to operate a tightly focused exploration program that adheres to the following guidelines – an emphasis on heavy Rare Earths and politically stable environments.
  • At the Steenkampskraal Rare Earth mine site, we recently launched the refurbishment process and have a crew on site that is refurbishing the mine shaft. It is expected this project will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • With the approval from the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa for our work program in hand, we will commence surface and underground sampling at the Steenkampskraal site. This will enable us to bring the historic estimates into compliance with NI 43-101 technical reporting standards and to complete the NI 43-101 resource calculation by November 2011.
  • In July we plan to announce the name of a joint venture partner for the separation plant that will be operated in proximity to the Steenkampskraal mine site. We have been in discussions with companies that are highly experienced in the design, construction and operation of Rare Earth separation facilities.
  • The design of the mine and processing facilities has been evaluated to allow for capacity to produce approximately 5,000 tonnes of Rare Earth oxides per year, almost double the 2,700 tonnes per year capacity originally anticipated.
  • In the upcoming twelve months we intend to double the capacity of Less Common Metals. The addition of two furnaces is merely the first step. Based on very strong support and encouragement from our valued customers, GWMG plans to significantly increase capacity over the next three to four years to, in all likelihood, multiples of its current status.
  • On the corporate development front, GWMG will continue to add skilled and specialized staff at an operational level, namely for the Steenkampskraal operation. The acquisition of the right skills at the right time is vital to our continued development.
  • As GWMG has looked at any future financing for the Steenkampskraal operation and the expansion of Less Common Metals we have clearly identified three priorities. Our top priority is an off-take or joint venture agreement, second is a form of debt instrument and the third priority is equity financing. We will continue to be cognizant of shareholder value in this decision process.
  • The past year was one that we considered to be the most exciting in our company's history. The next twelve months, however, promise to eclipse that as we move forward on many fronts in "closing the loop" in our plan to be one of the earliest movers in the Rare Earth sector and to be the first truly integrated Rare Earth producer.

GWMG Comments on Recently Announced Export Quotas from China:

It was announced Thursday, 14 July that the second-half Rare Earth quota from China for 2011 is set at 15,738 tonnes, distributed among 31 domestic and foreign-owned companies. This brings the total export quota for 2011 to 30,246 tonnes, nearly identical to the 30,258 tonnes in 2010. The table below summarizes the history of Rare Earth export quotas from China over the past four years:

(tonnes) 2008 2009 2010 2011
1st Half 30,991 21,728 22,282 14,508*
2nd Half 16,458 28,417 7,976 15,738
Total 47,449 50,145 30,258 30,246

* including a late addition to the 1st half quota of 62 tonnes to Pingyuan Sanxie Rare Earth Smelting Company

  • While the Ministry of Commerce has maintained the status quo in terms of the amount of exportable Rare Earths in 2011, the Ministry's Notice No. 28, 2011, released May 16th, mandates the inclusion in the quota system of ferroalloys containing greater than 10% Rare Earths by weight. This broadened scope of the quota system with no significant change in the quota amount then actually translates into a small reduction in the amount of exportable Rare Earth metals and oxides.
  • After Rare Earth export prices from China rose sharply in the first half of 2011, GWMG was able to continue sourcing material for its manufacturing facilities despite the difficult price environment. Because of the relative consistency of the 2010 and 2011 annual quota amounts, GWMG remains confident in the integrity of its supply chain. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries Less Common Metals and Great Western Technologies, GWMG is committed to continuing to provide the highest quality Rare Earth products to our global customer base.

Newspaper Article of Interest on Steenkampskraal:

The Saturday, July 16 Globe and Mail carried an extensive story on GWMG and its Steenkampskraal project:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/for-rare-earths-an-abundance-of-interest/article2099191/

Share Price Performance:

The following chart illustrates the percentage share price changes for eleven Rare Earth companies from June 30, 2010 to July 18, 2011 (Mid-day based on Stockwatch data).

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/721gwg_graph.jpg

Corporate Summary:

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is an integrated Rare Earths 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 aluminium, nickel, cobalt and Rare Earth Elements. As part of the Company's vertical integration strategy, GWMG holds 100% equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which owns a 74% equity interest in the Steenkampskraal Mine. In addition to a planned exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG also holds interests in six Rare Earth exploration and development properties in North America.

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 results of the exploration program, a resource estimate and commencement of production at Steenkampskraal, satisfaction of the conditions precedent with respect to GWMG's offtake agreement, receipt of all required approvals (including those relating to the commencement of production at the Steenkampskraal mine) and risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond the control of GWMG, 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 and the uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses. 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. 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 current annual information form available at www.sedar.com.

Neither the 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.

Contact Information

  • Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    Dwight Percy
    Manager of Investor Relations
    (306) 659-4500
    info@gwmg.ca
    www.gwmg.ca

    Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    219 Robin Crescent
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7L 6M8