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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Great Western Minerals reports rise in Q3 revenue despite tightening rare earth market
Great Western Minerals (CVE:GWG) reported Thursday its third quarter results, with its revenues rising around 14 per cent over the prior year period.
Earlier this week, the company provided an update on its corporate activities and operations after the recent resignation of three long-standing directors - Gary Billingsley, Jim Engdahl, and Bill McKnight - as the company transitions to a rare earth production phase and progresses toward the appointment of a new CEO.
Great Western's former producing Steenkampskraal mine is under development through refurbishment, as the company builds a rare earth mixed chloride plant and a rare earth solvent extraction separation plant near the mine.
The aim of the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) report underway is to further develop operational and financial projections based on an independent analysis of the mining of rare earth-bearing monazite, the extraction to mixed chloride, separation of oxides and metal and alloy production.
Great Western reported Monday "excellent progress" with regards to wrapping up the PEA by its fourth quarter target.
The company's development program at Steenkampskraal is central to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for its downstream processing - it 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.
Indeed, the rare earth processor already produces specialty alloys, used in the magnet, battery, defence and aerospace industries, at its facilities - Less Common Metals (LCM) in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies (GWT) in Troy, Michigan.
For the three months that ended September 30, revenues from processing alloys rose to $4.79 million, from $4.21 million a year earlier.
Losses widened, however, to $3.6 million from $2.3 million as the company transitions to a producer of rare earth metals, and as it expands its processing facilities.
"In the face of some tightening of the global rare earth market GWMG and LCM did manage to achieve higher revenues in the 3rd Quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter of 2011," said interim president and CEO, Robert Quinn.
"LCM EBITDA and earnings were reduced in the past quarter and year to date primarily as a result of the move to a new plant as well as the costs of installation of the new strip cast furnace. Both factors now provide a platform for improved financial performance going forward."
Indeed, at its LCM facility, the company has been working to deliver rare earth alloys using its new strip cast furnace, optimizing melt conditions, with customers currently evaluating.
The second strip cast furnace ordered from the same Chinese supplier is now fabricated, and is scheduled to arrive in the latter part of the first quarter of next year. It is expected to be fully operational in the second quarter. The company is conducting a tour of the LCM facilities for analysts today.
As part of its vertical integration strategy, Great Western 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.
It also holds a portfolio of rare earth exploration properties in North America.