SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - April 27, 2011) - Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. ("GWMG" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:GWG)(OTCQX:GWMGF) announces that it has, through its wholly owned subsidiary Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM"), signed a long term Co-operation Agreement with Aichi Steel Corporation ("ASC") of Japan. ASC is a part of the Toyota Group of Companies.
LCM is a producer of Rare Earth metals and alloys to the worldwide magnet industry. It has been supplying ASC with neodymium iron boron ("NdFeB") alloys for more than 10 years. The alloys supplied have been consumed in the "MagFine" ™ facility of ASC where they have been used to manufacture an anisotropic magnet powder capable of producing the world's most powerful bonded magnets. To date more than 20 million magnets have been produced and successfully applied in components that combine drastic reductions in weight with high power efficiency for automotive and other applications.
ASC is a speciality steel producer with an electromagnetic division aimed at the development of new and proprietary magnetic materials. Within this division is the "MagFine" business which is undergoing a rapid expansion program, causing a doubling of the size of its current production facility in Seki, Japan. The Seki plant provides all the powder to the "MagFine" manufacturing sites which are located in Japan, Czech Republic, Korea and China. With further expansion planned throughout the world ASC expects volumes to grow significantly over the coming years.
Dr. Y. Honkura, Senior Managing Director at ASC, stated, "Given our ambitious plans for the expansion of our "MagFine" product, it will be critical, for us and our customers, to secure a reliable, non-Chinese source of Rare Earths and alloys on whom we can rely to supply the majority of our alloy requirements long into the future. GWMG will be a key factor in providing this security via its mine at Steenkampskraal in South Africa and its LCM facility in the United Kingdom. The signing of this Co-operation Agreement ensures ASC will benefit from a long term supply commitment securing alloy of the very highest quality for years to come."
The Co-operation Agreement allows for the long term supply of NdFeB alloys produced by LCM using Rare Earth oxides to be produced at the Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. A doubling of the planned capacity at LCM is currently underway as the first phase of expansion to facilitate near term demand from ASC. A further phased expansion program has already been designed to accommodate the projected expansion of ASC alloy demand in future.
Jim Engdahl, CEO of GWMG said, "There has been a long term relationship between our companies and it is reassuring to know that ASC of the Toyota Motor Group will provide the cornerstone of demand for our Rare Earth products over the coming years. This Co-operation Agreement ensures a guaranteed market for an important segment of the Rare Earth alloys we produce. It also provides a level of stability to our Company that enables us to evaluate the expansion of our planned operations at Steenkampskraal in expectation of increasing demand".
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 has signed an Off-take Agreement for 100% of the Rare Earth Elements to be produced at the former producing Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa and holds 92.6% equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, the owner of 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.
CUSIP: 39141Y 10 3
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