Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : GWG
OTC PINK : GWMGF

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

February 07, 2012 13:01 ET

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.: Corporate Update- As at February 7, 2012

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Feb. 7, 2012) -

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

  • 1 former producing mine: Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. GWMG holds controlling interest in the mine through its 100% shareholding of Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited ("Rareco").
  • 2 rare earth processing plants: Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM") in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. ("GWTI") in Troy, Michigan.
  • 5 rare earth exploration projects: 1 at the Steenkampskraal site, 4 in North America.

GWMG Corporate Focus:

GWMG continues to execute its strategic plan to become a "first mover", as a fully integrated rare earth producer and processor, supplying its own rare earth inputs into its production and value-added cycle. Management discusses the strategy on the Company's website at http://www.gwmg.ca/html/news/corporate_videos/index.cfm.

GWMG Corporate Coverage:

Three analysts cover GWMG:

Note: GWMG does not recommend nor endorse any research reports.

GWMG: Planning to be an "early mover" as a fully integrated rare earth producer and processor, with key strategic assets already in place or under development:

Exploration - Mining - Mixed Chloride Production - Solvent Extraction Separation - Alloy Manufacturing

Exploration:

Steenkampskraal - Completion of Phase 1 of Drill Program:

As announced on January 30, 2012 GWMG has completed the first phase of the exploration program at the Company's 474 hectare Steenkampskraal rare earth property in South Africa. The drill program had two primary goals; firstly, to provide information in support of a fully compliant National Instrument 43-101 resource estimate report for the area within the main mine site and secondly, to collect a representative mini-bulk sample for metallurgical testing. The program comprised 39 diamond drill-holes totaling 3,780 meters. This included 17 holes for resource delineation (1,932 meters) and 22 holes dedicated to metallurgical sampling (1,848 meters). Assay results will be reported as they are received from the laboratories.

Steenkampskraal – Launch of Phase 2 of Drill Program:

GWMG is pleased to announce that the Company has also launched a 3,000 meter exploration program that will include on-strike and down-dip drill-holes at the Steenkampskraal site to test the extension of the mineralized vein system. The drilling has commenced targeting the strike extension of the monazite vein mineralization immediately west of the current mine site.

Steenkampskraal – Regional Drill Program:

In 2011 GWMG made application for Prospecting Rights surrounding the Steenkampskraal site. That application, for Prospecting Rights for an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers, was not accepted initially and the appeal remains in progress. The Company remains of the opinion that a number of monazite occurrences outside the Steenkampskraal mine site area warrant exploration work.

Red Wine – Labrador Canada:

GWMG's joint venture partner in the Red Wine exploration project, Search Minerals Inc. ("Search"), has made several announcements in recent months. On January 20, 2012, Search announced that its phase three drilling program had extended the rare earth element mineralization to 400 meters depth at the project. Previously, on January 16, 2012, Search announced the discovery of high-grade rare earth element mineralization in the Merlot Prospect at the Red Wine Property. The Merlot Prospect is part of the 50/50 Search Minerals-GWMG Red Wine joint venture.

Mining:

GWMG is pleased to announce an update on its extensive refurbishment of the Steenkampskraal mine shaft and ancillary surface facilities.

Shaft Refurbishment:

The first 125 meters of the decline have been refurbished with 50 meters remaining to be completed. GWMG is also pleased to announce that the design and implementation of the decline, based on the work to date, has been reviewed and approved by the Republic of South Africa Department of Mineral Resources, Mine Safety Authority.

Modern, high-volume underground ventilation continues to be improved with the installation of two new fans at the base of the underground workings. The ventilation distribution system is designed to substantially mitigate radon measurements in the working areas.

Mine Management:

GWMG has continued to expand its core of expertise to ensure the Steenkampskraal project is developed in a timely, safe and cost efficient manner. As announced previously, David Kennedy is now the Chief Executive Officer of Rareco. His responsibilities encompass all of GWMG's operations in South Africa. Vincent Mora is Steenkampskraal Project Director and Kwaw Kabaah was appointed Mine Manager late in 2011. Willie Schreuder was recently named the second Minesite Manager while Witker Zimba was previously announced as Superintendent of the separation plant that will be constructed near the Steenkampskraal project by Great Western GQD Rare Earth Materials Co. Ltd., the joint venture company in which GWMG holds a control position. Brent Jellicoe was previously named Director, International Exploration for GWMG and is overseeing the Steenkampskraal exploration program.

The Steenkampskraal team also includes a Radiation Protection Officer and radiation protection staff. They are supported by a Monazite Processing and Radioactivity management team that includes two highly qualified Radiation Protection Specialists.

The total staffing at Steenkampskraal, including employees and contractors, totals approximately 70 persons on any given day of operations.

Mine Equipment and Infrastructure:

The headgear and the winder for the decline have been fabricated and are now at site. The foundations are being constructed for imminent installation of the head gear along with all transfer hoppers and steelwork.

The Steenkampskraal site now contains a full complement of ancillary buildings. This includes management offices, change houses and laundry service (in compliance with the South African National Nuclear Regulations). Other buildings now at site include mine workshops and storage facilities. As well, a geological office and core storage, workshops and numerous lay-down pads have been constructed, proving beneficial to the success of the Steenkampskraal exploration program. The infrastructure for satellite communications is now at site, enabling internet use, and creating greater efficiency.

Potable and mine recirculation water systems are now in place. The reverse osmosis plant has been successfully installed with a capacity of 18,000 litres per hour. This capacity is important to management's priority of continuous re-use of the available water resource, thereby minimizing overall water use at site.

Photographs of the continual progress being achieved at the Steenkampskraal mine site, on a month by month basis, are available on the GWMG website at http://www.gwmg.ca/html/projects/mining/steenkampsraal_update/index.cfm.

Mixed Chloride Production:

The design of the mixed chloride plant, to be constructed at the Steenkampskraal mine site, is now complete. This work has been undertaken by DRA Mineral Projects (Pty) Ltd. ("DRA") of South Africa. DRA was chosen based on criteria that included its strong reputation for managing projects with a "zero harm" focus and upholding world class quality standards, systems and procedures, based on ISO standards. With the design phase complete, the costs and phasing of the construction of the mixed chloride production plant are now being updated and refined at significantly higher levels of detail and confidence.

Solvent Extraction Separation:

GWMG and Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Ltd. ("GQD") of China established an incorporated joint venture for the design, construction and operation of a rare earth separation plant, to be located in the Steenkampskraal region, as announced on January 10, 2012. The signing of the joint venture agreement and the incorporation of Great Western GQD Rare Earth Materials Co. Ltd. followed the principles set out in the Heads of Terms between the two companies.

Throughout the discussions on the joint venture agreement, the two companies undertook a significant amount of design and environmental work in anticipation of successfully entering into the joint venture. GWMG and GQD are now actively engaged in the work required to move the separation plant through the final design, construction and operation stages.

Alloy Manufacturing:

The capacity of GWMG's wholly owned subsidiary Less Common Metals Limited received a significant boost, by approximately 50%, as announced on January 31, 2012. The addition of a new furnace located at Hooton Park, in close proximity to LCM's existing facilities, enables LCM to produce alloys in "flake" form, as opposed to the traditional ingots, in response to customer demand. LCM plans to add new furnaces in response to the increasing demand from its growing global customer base.

Photos of the new furnace and facility can be found on the GWMG website at http://www.gwmg.ca/html/projects/processing/lcm-first-pour-2012/index.cfm.

Corporate:

GWMG has agreed to issue 2,072,484 shares at a deemed price of $.63 per share to settle amounts owing to Mr. Trevor Blench in connection with the acquisition of Rareco and the exercise of the option granted by Mr. Blench in 2010. The issuance of such shares is subject to TSX Venture Exchange acceptance.

Corporate Summary:

GWMG 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 aluminium, nickel, cobalt and Rare Earth Elements. As part of the Company's vertical integration strategy, GWMG also holds 100% equity ownership in Rareco, which owns a 74% equity interest in the Steenkampskraal Mine. In addition to an exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG holds interests in four active 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 refurbishment activities and reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines, the results of the exploration program at Steenkampskraal, completion of 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 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) 659-4516
    info@gwmg.ca

    Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    219 Robin Crescent
    Saskatoon, SK S7L 6M8
    www.gwmg.ca