Monday, 14 January 2013

Great Western adds mining veteran Ron Hochstein to board

Great Western Minerals Group (GWMG) (CVE:GWG) saw its shares rise 10 per cent Tuesday, after it added “significant” mining experience to its board with the appointment of Ron Hochstein.
Shares of the company rose 2.5 cents on the news, trading at 27.5 cents as at about 1:45 p.m. EDT.
Hochstein’s appointment to the company’s board of directors is effective immediately.
"GWMG is pleased to have attracted another independent board member with exceptionally strong qualifications, significant mining experience and a knowledge base that will be of great value to our company,” said interim president and CEO Robert Quinn.
“Hochstein's track record with putting mining projects into production in many parts of the world and his knowledge of global mining issues will assist GWMG in effectively delivering our projects."
Hochstein has served as the president, CEO and a director of Denison Mines Corp. (TSE:DML) for the past three years. Within his CEO role, Hochstein successfully negotiated a $100 million financing and restructured Denison following the sale of its U.S. assets. 
He also held senior management positions with International Uranium Corp., H.A. Simons Ltd. Mining Group, Noranda Inc. and North Canadian Oils Ltd., where his responsibilities included project development, exploration activities, public company reporting, regulatory negotiations and mine operations management. 
In addition to his current duties with Denison, Hochstein is president of Uranium Participation Corp. (TSE:U) - an investment holding company which invests substantially all of its assets in Uranium.
Great Western Minerals Group 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 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. Great Western is planning to restart production at the mine, to provide feed for its alloys business. 
The company is expecting to release the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Steenkampskraal this month.
While it had targeted the fourth quarter of 2012 to announce the results of its PEA, GWMG said the document’s “relative complexity” and the company’s decision to undertake a revised resource estimate extended the timeframe for the release.
As the company prepares for a new phase as a rare earth producer, GWMG last month also said that its search committee is in the final stages of the selection process for a new CEO and anticipates an announcement early this year.
In addition to Steenkampskraal, the company also holds interests in four rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.

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