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Friday, 12 July 2013
Great Western Minerals successfully produces neodymium metal from UK manufacturing unit
Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF), which makes rare earth-based metal alloys, says its manufacturing subsidiary, Less Common Metals, has produced neodymium metal from oxide using an electrolytic reduction process. The new method was run in full production mode, meeting all environmental, health and safety standards, the company said.
"This very successful production run follows our extensive engineering design and technical studies," said managing director of Less Common Metals, Ian Higgins. "Importantly, this is one of only a few examples of electrolytic metal production outside of China. This capability enables us to expand discussions with raw material and consumable suppliers."
Indeed, the company has invested in electrolytic cells over the past year as a means to boost its metal production and metal alloy capabilities. As part of an integrated expansion process, the company said that a second electrolytic cell has already been installed, increasing capcity even further.
The U.K.-based unit also completed the installation of its second strip casting furnace, and is now producing qualified alloys for customer orders, according to Great Western's statement. The new furnace increased production capacity by 700 tonnes to a total of 2,500 tonnes of metal alloy per year.
Great Western, a manufacturer and supplier of rare earth-based metal alloys, is looking to vertically integrate by restarting its Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa, which will eventually provide the downstream feed for its manufacturing units. It has the LCM unit in the U.K., as well as one in Troy, Michigan. In May, the company said on its conference call following the release of its quarterly results that it planned to move ahead with only “the most critical initiatives."