Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Great Western Minerals stands by PEA target of Q4 this year

Great Western Minerals (CVE:GWG) gave Wednesday a corporate update, saying it remains committed to releasing a preliminary economic assessment for its Steenkampskraal rare earth mine in South Africa during the fourth quarter. 
The company's former producing Steenkampskraal mine is under development through refurbishment, as Great Western builds a rare earth mixed chloride plant and a rare earth solvent extraction separation plant near the mine. 
The aim of the preliminary economic report is to further develop operational and financial projections based on an independent analysis of the mining of rare earth-bearing monazite, extraction to mixed chloride, separation of oxides and metal and alloy production. 
The company has instructed its PEA consultants, Snowden Mining, to extend the original scope of the PEA work to include a new resource estimate for the area of mineralization found at Steenkampskraal in recent months. 
Great Western said it anticipates this could result in additional NI 43-101 resource tonnage, which will then be added to the provisional mine plan to determine how this could extend the mine life. 
It added that even with the expanded scope, it expects the preliminary economic report will be released on target in the fourth quarter. 
In terms of exploration at the site, as of October 18, the company completed 106 drill holes over a total of more than 12,600 metres, with assay results to be released once analyzed. 
Shipments of samples are ongoing, and as a result, Great Western said it expects that the drill program will continue to generate results after the cut-off point for inclusion in the updated resource, which will be incorporated in the upcoming PEA report. 
Last month, the company reported some results from underground channel sampling, resource and exploration drill holes, varying from 0.02 to 45.81 weight per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO), with an average of 17.74% TREO. 
In terms of the 5,000 tonnes per year mixed chloride plant at the site, evaluation of long-lead items and project components is underway. Design work has also begun for the installation of tanks, pumps, and blending equipment that will be needed to accept deliveries. 
The preliminary layouts for the solvent extraction plant near the asset have also been completed in China, as Great Western continues to develop these plans according to South African standards. 
The company is working toward appointing a new CEO within its target of this year. The search committee, consisting of interim CEO Robert Quinn, have reported that "high quality candidates" have shown interest in the position. 
Great Western Minerals is a rare earth processor, whose specialty alloys are used in the magnet, battery, defence and aerospace industries.
Produced at the company’s subsidiaries Less Common Metals (LCM) in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies (GWT) in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain aluminum, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements (REE).  
As part of its vertical integration strategy, Great Western also holds 100 per cent of Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which owns a 74 per cent equity stake in the Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. 
The current NI 43-101 report for Steenkampskraal, filed on May 31, indicates the presence of 13,823.64 metric tonnes of TREO, including yttrium, under the indicated resource category, and 14,147.76 metric tonnes under the inferred resource category, each using a one per cent cut-off grade.
Its development program at Steenkampskraal is central to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for its downstream processing - the company intends to be one of the first to produce significant quantities of the more valuable heavy rare earth oxides, which are important materials for alloys.
It also holds a portfolio of rare earth exploration properties in North America.

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