EDITOR: | April 30th, 2015 | 53 Comments

Lifton’s Great Western Confessional.

| April 30, 2015 | 53 Comments

Full disclosure: I tried to buy Great Western Technology Inc.’s Troy, Michigan facility for two years, and I got the run-around from the then CFO of GWMG then under the guidance of my supposed “buddies.” I wanted to actually convert that facility to a rare earth recycling and alloy production plant. This was before Mr Levier’s time, but when he came on board the plant was sold to a very long time acquaintance of mine-we worked together at Energy Conversion Devices 45 years ago – and his plan as I understand it is to makeover the plant into a specialty alloy company. It’s a good plan.

Because of the above situation I took more than a passing interest in LCM, so I would like to give those juniors who are now going to try and “grab” it from the defunct GWMG some unsolicited advice.

Be careful what you wish for!

LCM was just a few years ago re-furbished with a new facility and new equipment with a capacity of-I have been told informally-2000 tons per year of a type of spin-cast alloy of neodymium-iron-boron, the most widely used rare earth permanent magnet alloy.

The last reported production at LCM from 2014 that I saw published said that only about 20% IN TOTAL of the installed capacity had been used during 2014 to produce what I understand is basically just one customer’s needs.

If this is true then LCM has two problems:

  1. Its production may well be limited to just the amount of raw materials that it, itself, or its customer can source. Keep in mind that its feedstock of separated didymium oxide probably comes from Solvay, France, and probably from material consigned by end-use customers. I do not know where it gets, if it gets, ferrodysprosium for customer specified additions.

THUS: A potential buyer must ask itself where the company will get additional supplies and additional customers. The two are inextricable intertwined.

  1. Retaining the technical staff and management of LCM is a critical issue. I cannot overemphasize that Dr. Ian Higgins and his team are first-class and that if some hot-shot financier thinks that these bricks, mortar, and machinery can be run by “any” engineer then that fool deserves his fate.

I want to close by saying that the marketing manager of LCM who got the business to its present profitable state, Mr Dave Murphy, has I believe retired, although he may still be a consultant. Please, new owner-operator, get Dave (back?) and give Ian the raw materials supply so they can increase the business.


Jack Lifton is the CEO of Jack Lifton, LLC and is a consultant, author, and lecturer on the market fundamentals of technology metals. “Technology metals” ... <Read more about Jack Lifton>

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  • Tracy Weslosky

    I find it utterly remarkable that you have selected your 75th Birthday to share this history with Great Western Minerals. It sounds like your trying to give someone else a birthday gift with this wisdom and advice!

    Happy Birthday Jack from all of us at InvestorIntel.

    April 30, 2015 - 11:12 AM

  • Joe o

    Jack. It’s my bday today too. Only 51. Must be a day for great minds. Lol

    April 30, 2015 - 11:14 AM

  • JJBeswick

    Happy 75th Jack!!
    Seems to me LCM would be a perfect buy for either Lynas or Molycorp if only they had the spare cash!!

    April 30, 2015 - 12:01 PM

  • hackenzac

    It looks like they’re going to liquidation. This piece colors in some of the speculation as to how you changed your mind on this company but where did you decide that they were not going to be a player and fully realize the vertical integration plan? In my thinking, it was always about the GQD separation deal that I never believed would happen and it didn’t. It was a time waster and a non starter. If I had to put my finger on the failure point, it would be there but the mine refurbishment was poorly managed as well. A more modest toll the existing tailings through France plan would have been better for supplying LCM and it would have saved them a bundle on capex. Why do you think that LCM is at a present profitable state? They were losing about a million dollars per quarter the last time that they fully reported and not to quibble over semantics, GWTI in Troy wasn’t exactly “sold”. They had to pay 750 K to have it taken off their hands due to some liabilities. Also, if you would care to speculate on the disposition of SKK. I would think that some Chinese entities, perhaps ironically GQD, would be interested in snapping it up. How valuable and viable is SKK or have they been superseded by more derisked projects? Happy Birthday Jack. Hitting 75 is way better than the alternative.

    April 30, 2015 - 12:18 PM

  • bearcat

    Mr. Lifton: In the past your assessment of Great Western and its prospects took an abrupt turnaround from something like it being the model and leading the way among ree companies to it being a veritable basket case. This metamorphosis always has confused and raised the ire of the Great Western fan club. Time wise, how does this dramatic change in opinion correspond with your failed acquisition of the company’s Troy, MI, facility? Happy birthday!

    April 30, 2015 - 12:30 PM

  • Mike


    So let me get this straight… Jack was PRO GWG years ago, then had a sudden change of tune (translation, he wanted to buy GWTI – his very own words) and was rebuffed, and had a temper tantrum), and you find it… wait, let me quote you directly… “utterly remarkable”.

    Could you possibly kiss a$$ more to?

    April 30, 2015 - 12:31 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      Mike. Another gentleman has just been banned for his challenged mental state, and your at the gates of the same club. For starters, I do not have any A$$ that I kiss; but for fun let’s walk you through the process (slowly) to insure that you think twice before commenting. 1. Jack can be PRO anything he likes, as can you. 2. Over the course of many years we all may change our mind – even you. The above article is something to consider, but you do not need to agree. Just behave like you know how to have an intelligent opinion. Thanks. PS> If wishing someone happy birthday when they are 75 is kissing A$$ — then consider me guilty…here’s some more: Technology Metals Guru Celebrates Milestone http://bit.ly/1GzX1Ax

      April 30, 2015 - 2:43 PM

  • ACommenter


    I’m also curious, as is Hackenzac, as to how you can state that LCM is presently profitable?

    Also, assuming that your use of “supposed ‘buddies'” refers to Engdahl and Billingsley, how could you conduct such an uncritical interview with Engdahl just a few months ago? Engdahl simply ignores any real comment on the Hoidas Lake venture with GWMG (Barr stated in the press release that the PEA would be completed by the end of 2014) and moves on to yet another pie-in-the-sky venture, i.e. manganese.

    Any comment is welcome.

    April 30, 2015 - 1:14 PM

  • bearcat

    Mike: Why the crude language? Just saw another even more crude comment on a different ree related InvestorIntel article. Most readers of this site like to assume at least a minimum adult level of intelligence and decorum. There always is the Stockhouse boards for those wanting to get down in the gutter. The GWG board is especially good for that.

    April 30, 2015 - 1:15 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      Thanks Bearcat for reminding our audience of the rules of combat. We welcome discussion and debate, but we have a zero tolerance for vitriolic commentary. The other comment was caught by our News Editor and is gone. Thanks.

      April 30, 2015 - 2:48 PM

  • ACommenter

    Related to my last comment, this quote is from the 9/30/2014 MD&A, the last one that the company has released.

    “Overall, the manufacturing services segment generated a loss of $1.6 million from continuing operations in the first nine months of 2014 compared to a loss of $0.9 million from continuing operations for the same period in 2013. The manufacturing services segment’s performance, now solely made up of LCM’s operations, …”

    April 30, 2015 - 1:19 PM

  • Jack lifton

    I don’t kiss anyone’s ass. I like Jim and Gary very much. Neither of them was the problem. Quite the opposite in fact.

    Immature commenters don’t bother me either by the way

    Everyone is free to ignore me,as I am free to ignore jerks and ad hominem attacks.

    April 30, 2015 - 1:50 PM

  • bearcat

    This Great Western discussing now is academic–the poor, suffering creature was officially taken off life support today–all now wwwater under the bridge! The corner is on the way to determine the exact cause of death. Those GWG/GWMGF shareholders who escape with their pennies might want to consider investing in Star Minerals if they appreciate the kind of genius that created the GWG scam. Given all its potential, management had to work at making this company a failure FOR SHAREHOLDERS. Me, I see this as a positive when yet another potential HREE producer bites the dust, thereby meaning less competition once my favored Rare Element Resources is up and running. GWG shareholders sure can’t say they weren’t warned by the many so-called “bashers” they so viciously attacked on the Stockhouse board.

    April 30, 2015 - 1:51 PM

  • Daniel

    Great Western is now on life support. CCAA means the operation continues without liquidation. Solicitation for purchase of assets has national security restrictions. The bondholders can only obtain LCM as full and final payment subject to court approval. SKK valued at 267 million NPV can only be transfer subject to South Africa labour laws.

    April 30, 2015 - 2:01 PM

  • motherearth

    Jack , that makes a lot of sense, Lcm will likely fail without SKK . So what does the title of todays news release say, Great Western Minerals Enters Into Support Agreement With Certain Bondholders and Files for Protection Under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. 65.3% of the bond holders are willing to talk, I’d say its not over.

    April 30, 2015 - 2:05 PM

  • hackenzac

    This is for you Mother, love Derm.


    April 30, 2015 - 2:17 PM

  • marpal

    Jack. Thank you and happy birthday. I initially thought GWTI was the R&D of GWG so was disappointed to see it go. The location would have been a convenience if your intention was realized but then again, I’m not in the ree business so anything I think is an uninformed thought.
    Re: LCM – With recent Chinese news I would think their service will be more in demand.
    As a shareholder of GWG, if not current management, then I hope whoever comes along will finish what’s been started because the plan is a good one. The foundation is set. We have the beginning and the end. We just need to build out the middle now. I would like it to be Marc’s baby because I believe he worked hard on the BH agreement.
    Why our North American governments are asleep during all this and not supporting the rare earth industry (future technology) worries me.

    April 30, 2015 - 2:19 PM

  • bearcat

    Daniel: I sure am not a doctor but do like the medical analogies for that GWG patient from Saskatoon. I see that life support has been removed owing to loss of any hope for recovery. The patient now is in a permanent vegetative state, in advance of presumed eventual retrieval of vital organs to be used by others. Still, all this is irrelevant to family member shareholders who now are encouraged to return home and begin the grieving process.

    April 30, 2015 - 3:18 PM

  • Daniel

    Your comment is not relevant. CCAA has no relevance to medical analogies. The patient is not a living entity but a construct given rights and obligations under the laws of different jurisdiction. CCAA is the legal term for life support to continue operation in the preservation of value.
    To make a comparison in relation to medical analogy you are out of your league and you are in no position to challenge me. Unless you actually have something intelligent to reply to…

    April 30, 2015 - 3:31 PM

  • hackenzac

    What league did you say you were in Daniel? Do you prefer cooking analogies instead? Allow me to mix one up for you. Stick a fork in the toaster then wake up and smell the coffee. You’ll probably need a doctor then genius.

    April 30, 2015 - 4:36 PM

  • Daniel

    Zac get a life.

    April 30, 2015 - 4:51 PM

  • bearcat

    Daniel: You have my condolences for the recent loss of your GWG Family. There is no neat progression thought the 7 stages of grieving. For example, you seen to be experiencing stage 1 (denial) and stage 3 (anger) at the same time. Of course GWMG isn’t a person, although in the States, the US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people. Unlike you, I like medical analogies. And, in this case, as a member of the GWG family, you will receive no remuneration for the organs from GWG’s corpse donated for other’s use. The pain of loss and life without GWG will fade but the monetary loss is permanent. I guess people would have a bit of sympathy for the family members had they not been so terribly rude to everyone else. Over the years scores of people have told Great Western family members that deeply inhaling GWG would prove fatal. The early loss of clear thinking should have been a warning sign for all of you that to continue doing so probably would prove fatal. Again, it now is just wwwater under the bridge.

    April 30, 2015 - 7:34 PM

  • Mr. kean

    Truly a sad day for gas investors. Do not see thaf poster wwwaters show up in awhile. Wonder why ? Hmmmm.

    April 30, 2015 - 7:41 PM

  • Daniel

    If you wish to psychology analogies I’m game. You are in denial. The process of grieving requires a perceived loss. Condolences are not necessary until someone has actually passed away. Your preconception disassociation of reality implies a cognitive disorder that is related directly with the loss of your father. Psychiatrist call that the Electra complex.

    April 30, 2015 - 7:44 PM

  • bearcat

    Daniel: Are you kidding me! You can’t even get the Electra Complex right! LOL. Of course you have not experienced any loss with GWG. And don’t worry, I am sure you will do just fine with your GWG stock and assume you all will be able to retire early with all the money some white knight will pay for the GWG cadaver. The overall market must see the same excellent money-making potential and that is why the sp is at .005 cents. Bye, no point.

    April 30, 2015 - 9:26 PM

  • Daniel

    I can retire now. I can already profile you with 20% accuracy. RER can not produce anything without a supply chain. Your analogy of organs used by others give a district Freudian perspective as to your preferences. Electra Complex is a perfect analogy unless you have a gender bias over the deceased.

    April 30, 2015 - 9:39 PM

  • Mr. kean

    Is this bear cat aka wallbanger? Similar

    April 30, 2015 - 9:41 PM

  • alvarita

    Wow…is this the place for GWM bashers to congregate and seek safe haven? Too funny. I’d bet a whole bunch of cash that if GWM was still paying for promotion here, it wouldn’t be tolerated.

    April 30, 2015 - 9:41 PM

  • Daniel

    Not promoting GWG. Posted to clarify CCAA protects GWG to continue operation barring all creditors from any legal rights.

    April 30, 2015 - 9:45 PM


    Mike you are right!Jack is technology metals guru???Maybe at 75 he should quit his bs advising to the investors.Now he likes SMY.V with his body Jim Enghdal .We will see how this one is going to end up.This is another mine to market great idea.

    May 1, 2015 - 11:14 AM

  • fatfretter

    Yes, Its obvious. Bearcat is hwallbanger, aka, reeguy, aka gooseahawks..etc….pototoi..etc..

    May 1, 2015 - 11:18 AM

  • Mike

    Tracy, have your IT dept check my ip address. You can count the number of times I’ve visited this, um… forum, for lack of a better word, on two hands – an indication of how much I value this website. Ban away… please… I’m a person that comments infrequently on anything that I read, yet the few times I’ve come here I feel compelled to – I’m not a fan of nonsense, and there’s too much of it on this site.

    May 1, 2015 - 12:05 PM

  • bearcat

    fratfetter: Too funny. I noticed that here and on the stockhouse board it always is assumed that anyone who is in any way critical of GWG is assumed to be the same poster, like only one person could be so stupid as to not see all the investment potential in the stock! Perhaps that stockouse board is where you belong if your above post is the extent of what you have to contribute.

    May 1, 2015 - 12:50 PM

  • Mr. kean

    Yep. It’s reeguy

    May 1, 2015 - 1:15 PM

  • Steve Mackowski

    Happy Birthday Jack. I have a saying that you get your life energy from the dreams that you have. You must have some pretty compelling dreams to keep your schedule going. Stay safe and well.
    On the GW story, I was very impressed with their decision to buy LCM. LCM were sourcing Sm from GRIEM in Beijing at the time for use in their Sm-Co magnet material production. The SKK mine development was designed (I always presumed) to replace the need for Chinese Sm. It appears that the LCM expansion in Iron Boron magnet material was designing in the Nd from SKK. At face value this appears the perfect “mine to market” fit from a production balance point of view. I suspect that the difficulty in financing SKK brought in convertible bonds that overtook the delays to schedule and as they say the rest is history. Pity since no-one else has really been able to put the M to M story properly together. It would be a classic read if the unexpurged version of the GW story could someday be written.
    Again stay well.

    May 2, 2015 - 2:09 AM

  • Fixed

    After reading the affidavit of Marc Levier sworn April 29, 2015 I’d say story may not be over yet. Let’s wait to see the outcome of SISP as it states it provides a means to possibily still achieve it’s mine to metal busness model. The time line is no later than June 29 2015. It’s not over yet. Wouldn’t it be “Great” if Marc was able to pull it off and get GWMG into production. Seems there is still the chance and think everybody that has not already read Marc’s affidavit definately should as it is very interesting and answers alot of what has been going on yet there’s still something that has not been fully disclosed and it could be something that allows them to continue on…We shall all soon see.

    May 2, 2015 - 11:59 AM

  • Jake
    May 2, 2015 - 6:33 PM

  • hackenzac

    There’s a supporting documents tab on the left. It’s there and boy is it ugly. The net book value isn’t even close to meeting the bond debt. There’s no way they’re reorganizing their way of of it imo.

    May 2, 2015 - 7:12 PM

  • Fixed
    May 3, 2015 - 12:16 AM

  • Fixed

    Ad Hoc Committee Houlihan Lokey. Check out 141. thru 143. Don’t know why but when I think of the none supporting bondholders I wonder about George Ireland. GWMG President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Engdahl said, “The proposed secured convertible bond financing is a transformational event for the Company and is key to the completion of the next steps of the Company’s development. Execution of the Company’s strategic business plan involves the Company becoming a first mover in the rare earth industry and completing its fully integrated business model. This strategy has been central to the Company’s focus and we are extremely pleased to be working with GMP, ISM and Byron on this offering.”
    Concurrently, GWMG is pleased to announce the appointment of George Ireland to the Company’s Board of Directors, subject to regulatory approval.

    Mr. George Ireland serves as chief investment officer and managing member of Geologic Resource Partners LLC as well as portfolio manager of Geologic Resource Funds. Mr. Ireland has 30 years of experience in all aspects of the resource sector, ranging from field geology through to banking and corporate finance. In addition to having worked in the most senior positions with several firms in the resource sector he has served as a director with companies that include Blue Wolf Mongolia Holdings Corp., Peru Copper Inc., Geoinformatics Exploration Inc., Kiska Metals Corporation and Uranium Resources Inc. Mr. Ireland graduated from Philips Academy and the University of Michigan with degrees in Resource Economics and Geology. He also attended the Graduate School of Business Administration of New York University.
    GWMG Executive Chairman Gary Billingsley said, “GWMG is very pleased to be able to attract such highly qualified Board members to our company. The significant resource sector backgrounds of Robert Gilmore and George Ireland will further strengthen our team at GWMG. We are very confident that the addition of these independent directors will serve our shareholders’ interests exceptionally well.”. GWMG also announced today that George Ireland has resigned as a Director of the Company. Mr. Ireland has served as a Direct
    Mr. Ireland stated, “It has been a pleasure to work with the entire Great Western team and my fellow Board members.
    progress from the perspective of an investor in both the equity and the debt as they move forward with their business plan to beco sector.”

    May 3, 2015 - 12:37 AM

  • Fixed

    At the top of Houlihan’s debtor-side list was Central European Distribution Corp, one of the largest vodka producers in the world, chaired by Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko. CEDC had no real assets in the US, but Houlihan advised the company to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation in the US after a carefully crafted pre-packaged plan was in place.

    Secured bondholders were stripped of their collateral, mainly on operations in Russia and Poland, as a precaution to make sure no non-US proceedings were initiated that would render a US bankruptcy plan meaningless. The liens on the collateral were restored after the plan was implemented.

    Even though the restructuring eliminated about US$665m of debt, it won approval from 99% of the holders of the company’s existing 2013 secured notes and 97% of the subordinated 2016 notes. Maybe they can help GWMG…LOL… Our Achievements

    Houlihan Lokey has been consistently named the No. 1 investment bank in its class for the past 10 years. Our accomplishments reflect our commitment to creating value for our clients.


    No. 1 M&A Advisor for U.S. Transactions Under $5 Billion—Thomson Reuters
    No. 1 U.S. M&A Fairness Opinion Advisor Over the Past 10 Years—Thomson Reuters
    No. 1 Global Investment Banking Restructuring Advisor—Thomson Reuters
    2014 AWARDS

    Restructuring Winner Americas for American Airlines—The Banker’s Deals of the Year 2014
    Large Company Award for SolarWorld AG—TMA Europe Turnaround of the Year Awards 2014
    Best Loan Restructuring Advisor 2014—GlobalCapital
    2013 AWARDS

    Restructuring Advisor of the Year—International Financing Review (IFR)
    Best Loan Restructuring House—Euroweek
    European Restructuring House of the Year—Financial News
    Dealmaker of the Year: BTA Bank $11.1 Billion Restructuring—Finance Monthly
    Cross-Border Dealmaker of the Year for Eurodrip—Acquisition International’s 2013 M&A Awards
    Restructuring Winner Europe for eircom—The Banker’s Deals of the Year 2013
    Restructuring Winner Africa for Afrisam—The Banker’s Deals of the Year 2013
    Restructuring Winner Americas for Kerzner International—The Banker’s Deals of the Year 2013
    Deal of the Year for Batelco’s $1.025 billion acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communication’s Monaco & Islands Unit and CMC—TMT Finance’s Middle East & North Africa Awards

    May 3, 2015 - 12:49 AM

  • Fixed

    Wonder if Jack knows George…lol…wonder if Jack knows Marc…lol…Levier not Lavier…lol…

    May 3, 2015 - 12:57 AM

  • alvarita

    As bad as it is having GWM bashers going full tilt here, it’s just as bad having the GWM cult members going wild in order to support their continued denial of reality. Perhaps everyone would be better served and kept more gainfully occupied by answering this question: Where specifically did the 90 million dollars go? Seems like a lot of money vaporized with very little to show for it. Can’t imagine it was spent on a couple of super-sized Chinese pizza ovens for LCM.

    May 4, 2015 - 1:34 PM

  • twtom

    alvarita – Just follow the link Fixed posted and you can read where the money went.

    May 5, 2015 - 5:17 AM

  • Fixed

    Jack lifton on April 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM said:
    I don’t kiss anyone’s ass. I like Jim and Gary very much. Neither of them was the problem. Quite the opposite in fact.

    Immature commenters don’t bother me either by the way

    Everyone is free to ignore me,as I am free to ignore jerks and ad hominem attacks.

    Reply ↓. Well ignore this if GWMG is successful you can kiss mine and Marc’s ass…lol…If GWMG fails well you can still kiss my ass…lol…cause if GWMG don’t make it then i’m sure your fab four ain’t got a hope in he…ll….lol…Oh and happy bday Jack…hope I live as long as you… God bless you on your 75th Bday…and it’s Levier not Lavier…lol…

    May 5, 2015 - 8:45 PM

  • hackenzac

    Good suggestion twtom for the always half cocked Alvarita but she’s all about rhetoric and gotchas with conflict of interest innuendo for Tracy and Jack etc so being well read on the subject isn’t her forte just ad hominem attack in case it isn’t obvious by now.

    May 6, 2015 - 3:13 PM

  • alvarita

    Very funny how immediately after making an ad hominem attack hackenzac will accuse others of doing the same. Pretty transparent and immature to say the least.

    May 6, 2015 - 5:41 PM

  • hackenzac

    Your pattern is pretty clear Alvarita and like the guy says, you should read more.

    May 6, 2015 - 6:01 PM

  • JOE O

    why is there a discussion about GWM when it trades for under 1 penny?rather hear some ucore, tas, ree or TRER chitchat

    May 6, 2015 - 7:52 PM

  • Fixed

    Yes, I do lol alot it’s my thing and I likes it LOL… so it looks like China is looking for REE’s in ROW…GWMG has the best possible opportunity in ROW …LOL…Let the bidding begin… Oh wait maybe the bid was in a while back and Marc had to get this SISP put into effect which seems to have divided the bondholders in that the majority supports GWMG…The nonsupporting bondholders are free to put their bid in like ROW but are not privy to any confidential information and if any of the supporting bondholders jump ship they also will be left with no inside info or influence on decsions that will affect the out come of the SISP…LOL… So let the best offer win the right to get the best REE development outside China begin…lol…Steen + LCM = way more than what bondholders are owed…Maybe Jack will buy it…lol…

    May 6, 2015 - 8:28 PM

  • Roger

    Fixed, get a life or get off this blog.
    Surely you have better things to do. Everyone has got your point and understood it.
    No need to make the same point million times!

    May 6, 2015 - 8:53 PM

  • Fixed

    Rodger dodger..lol…Let’s read it again Rodger…lol…are you a nonsupporting bondholder?… Wouldn’t want the ROW know what you are trying to steal now would you…http://www.pwc.com/en_CA/CA/car/greatwesternmineralsgroup/assets/greatwesternmineralsgroup-002_043015.pdf

    May 6, 2015 - 9:29 PM

  • bearcat

    Roger: You have missed a very relevant reality. It makes no sense to tell Fixed to get a life or get off this blog–THIS STUFF IS HIS LIFE! GWG and his delusional posts fill his days. Classic his holding on to the silly notion that Great Western shareholders will end up with anything and all the paranoia about you and others are plotting against him. He also is convinced some posters are demons out to “crash” his .005 cent stock! Best just to ignore his delusion and not engage.

    May 10, 2015 - 10:01 AM

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