Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Great Western Minerals reveals 2012 results, continues to prioritize development of Steenkampskraal


Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) has announced its year-end results, which showed a narrower loss as the rare earths processor seeks to become a producer of the metals. 
For the year that ended December 31, 2012, the company reported a loss of $19.2 million, or 4.6 cents per share, compared to a loss of $22.1 million, or 5.8 cents per share, the prior year. 
Revenues were slightly lower at $15.7 million, compared to $15.9 million in 2011. 
"2012 was a  year of accomplishments and challenges," said the company in its statement late Tuesday, citing president and CEO, Marc LeVier. 
"We successfully closed a $90  million convertible bond offering, developed our Preliminary Economic  Assessment and advanced the refurbishment of the Steenkampskraal  project, all with the intent of achieving our goal of being a fully  integrated rare earth producer." 
"One of my priorities, as CEO, is to  continually look for, and act decisively upon, avenues that will ensure all possible resources are available for the continued development of the Steenkampskraal project."
He said this includes corporate realignment, the development of the owner's representative team to effectively oversee all aspects of its Steenkampskraal rare earth project in South Africa and the minimizing of overhead costs. 
The rare earths processor, which is transitioning to a fully integrated rare earths producer, makes specialty alloys used in the magnet, battery, defence and aerospace industries from two facilities in the U.S. and U.K. Its development program at its Steenkampskraal rare earth mine in South Africa, which includes a restart of the historical mine, is central for a strong flow of feedstock for its downstream processing unit. 
Great Western's plan is to be one of the first to produce significant quantities of the critical rare earth oxides (CREO) that are essential materials for its alloy manufacturing operations. 
It recently announced a series of management changes to prepare for a new stage of life in the company, including the promotion of Vic Fitzmaurice to the position of Steenkampskraal managing director.
Last month, the company said its second strip casting furnace was delivered to its rare earth alloy manufacturing subsidiary, UK-based Less Common Metals (LCM). 
It expects the second furnace will be fully installed and commissioned by the end of the second quarter. In February, the unit started commercial production with its first rare earth alloy strip casting furnace - all a part of Great Western's plan to boost the facility's capacity in preparation for Steenkampskraal coming online.
"While [2012] revenues were equivalent to the prior year,  earnings from alloy manufacturing operations were impacted by the cancellation costs of the lease on LCM's previous building as well as an inventory write-down," said LeVier in the statement, adding that company expenses increased as expected, with the heightened levels of development activity at Steenkampskraal. 
The company also recognized an impairment charge of $6.2 million, or 1.5 cents per share, tied to a quantity surveyor's report that indicated the quality of work undertaken by Great Western's previous main contractor for the Steenkampskraal site was deficient.
It also changed its accounting policy from deferring exploration and evaluation expenditures to expensing them, resulting in an increase to net loss to $12.4 million from $8.1 million in 2011. 
In March, the company announced a strong preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its Steenkampskraal mine, showing an IRR of 66 percent after tax, and a $555 million net present value, when applying a 10 percent discount rate.
Great Western holds 100 percent equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co.,  which controls the Steenkampskraal mine.

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