Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Great Western sees changes at the top, with new chair and lead director

Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) announced Tuesday a flurry of board and management changes as the company prepares to become a rare earths producer, starting with the appointment of Robert Quinn as non-executive board chair. 
Quinn has served on the company's board of directors since 2006, and also acted as interim CEO of the rare earths processor from last October until the appointment of current chief Marc LeVier in January. 
The company says Quinn has over 30 years of management and legal experience in the mining sector, and serves on the boards of Formation MetalsNorth American Palladium, and Mercator Minerals. He is the chairman of the latter two companies as well. 
Great Western also said Tuesday that Ron Hochstein has been elected as independent lead director, having been with the company since early January this year. Hochstein is the president and CEO of Denison Mines, as well as a director - positions he has held since 2009. He is also the president of Uranium Participation Corporation
"The election of Robert Quinn as non-executive chair and Ron Hochstein as lead director creates even greater strength within the company's board of directors as it directs management in the successful execution of the strategic plan to move the Steenkampskraal operation toward production," said CEO LeVier in the release. 
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. 
Also Tuesday, the company announced the retirement of VP of exploration, John Pearson, who held the position since 2003, and the resignation of VP operations, Richard Hogan, who left to pursue other interests.  
Shares of Great Western advanced 2.8 percent to 18.5 cents on the TSX Venture Exchange on Tuesday. 
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.

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