Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

April 21, 2011 09:30 ET

Great Western Minerals Group Targets Earlier Dates and Increased Output at Steenkampskraal Rare Earth Project

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - April 21, 2011) - Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. ("GWMG" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF) announces that it has updated its plans for the Steenkampskraal Rare Earth property in South Africa.

The steps in the plan may be undertaken in sequential order, or wherever possible, will be undertaken on a concurrent basis with the intent of reducing the time frame to advance the project.

GWMG has immediate plans to commence refurbishment of the previously producing mine shaft at the Steenkampskraal site, re-establish the containment ponds, and address all waste disposal requirements.

The Company has issued a tender call for this refurbishment work that will commence immediately after the Company confirms receipt of approval of the proposed work program from the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa ("NNR") under the site's existing Nuclear License.

The receipt of the NNR work program approval will also allow the Company to proceed immediately with surface and underground sampling at Steenkampskraal to begin the process of bringing the historic resource estimate into compliance with National Instrument 43-101 technical reporting requirements.

As previously announced, the Company continues to hold advanced discussions with potential partners regarding a Rare Earth separation plant. Within these discussions, GWMG is evaluating the participation of a financial joint venture partner, the development of an offtake agreement and/or the use of debt for purposes of financing the separation facility. The Company is targeting July 2011 for this decision.

GWMG, in conjunction with institutions considering debt financing for the project, is evaluating whether a feasibility study is necessary to meet financing requirements. In the event that the full feasibility study is not required the overall schedule could be advanced.

Work necessary to complete the Environmental Management and Protection Plan and other environmental regulatory requirements is currently in progress at the site.

The design of the mine and processing facilities has been upgraded to allow for capacity to produce approximately 12,000 tonnes per annum of Rare Earth chloride solutions. These will be sent to the solvent extraction separation facility, planned to be located in South Africa, to produce approximately 5,000 tonnes of Rare Earth oxides per year. This planned level of production is almost double the 2,700 tonnes per year capacity originally anticipated.

Should the feasibility work proceed as planned, and should environmental and work program approvals be received in a timely fashion, then GWMG is targeting Q1 2012 to commence underground mining operations. This would provide feed from underground to blend with material already broken on surface to be available for processing by the beginning of 2013 when construction of the beneficiation and separation plants is planned to be completed.

GWMG President and CEO Jim Engdahl said "Today's announcement is a watershed moment in the history of Great Western Minerals Group. Our Company has embarked on a fast track route to move the Steenkampskraal mine into production. We plan to do so earlier than originally projected and at a planned tonnage that is double what we had originally contemplated."

Engdahl continued, "We intend to deliver on our ambition to be a fully integrated Rare Earths supplier by, or before, the beginning of 2013. The plan to double our original capacity estimate is a clear response to our customer base that requires supply assurances so they can develop their own business models with certainty. GWMG looks forward to executing its integrated plan."

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 and a Resource Estimate 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

CUSIP: 39141Y 10 3

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Contact Information

  • Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    Dwight Percy
    Manager of Investor Relations
    (306) 659-4500

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