Great Western Minerals Group Reports Third Quarter 2013 Results and Provides Project Update
November 14, 2013 (Source: Marketwired) — Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (“GWMG” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE: GWG) (OTCQX: GWMGF), a leader in the manufacture and supply of rare earth element-based metals and metal alloys and holder of a low cost, high-grade critical rare earth asset (the “Steenkampskraal Project” or “SKK”), today released third quarter financial results through September 30, 2013, and provided an update on the Company’s activities.
Third Quarter Highlights and Results:
- Significantly advanced metallurgical testing and continuing to optimize the process design parameters for the selection of the final flow sheet for the feasibility study. Test work is progressing and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
- Upgraded and increased mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) for SKK project as a result of upgrading Inferred resources and identifying new resources. The new MRE has an overall Measured and Indicated mineral resource total of 86,900 tonnes total rare earth oxides including yttrium (“TREO”), an increase of 171%, or 54,800 tonnes, from the same categories in the December 2012 MRE (refer to news release dated November 12, 2013). This new data will be used as the basis for the Company’s feasibility study currently scheduled for completion around the end of the first quarter of 2014.
- Third quarter revenue was $4.1 million compared with $4.8 million in the prior-year period and reflects an overall weakening in prices, partially offset by higher volumes. Company revenue was attributable to its production subsidiary Less Common Metals Limited.
- Successful production of neodymium metal from oxide using electrolytic reduction process. A second electrolytic cell has been installed and provides the platform for increased capacity.
Marc LeVier, President and CEO, commented, “We continue to make measurable progress on completing the SKK project feasibility study. The potential optimized metallurgical process and increased resources will be incorporated in the feasibility study. We are also investigating alternatives to reduce capital outlays, including evaluating toll separation alternatives to reduce certain upfront costs and shorten timelines to obtain separated REO production. These are important steps in our strategy to get SKK to production and should provide support in our efforts to obtain project financing.”
Manufacturing services revenue was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2013, a 13.5% decrease from the same period in the prior year as higher volumes were more than offset by an approximately 30% year-over-year decrease in the average price of alloys. For the recent quarter, the Company sold 75 metric tonnes of alloys compared with 61 metric tonnes of alloys for the same period in 2012.
Gross profit was relatively consistent with the third quarter of 2012 at $1.2 million, though as a percentage of revenue, gross margin improved to 29.0% from 24.3% in the prior-year period. The margin expansion was due to an increase in specialty alloy sales during the period which have historically been at higher margins.
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In early July, the Company successfully produced metal from oxide using an electrolytic reduction process. A second electrolytic cell has been installed and provides the platform for increased capacity. Alloy volumes are anticipated to increase during the remaining part of 2013 as a result of the added manufacturing capacity, though the growth may be limited by the Company’s ability to obtain the necessary rare earth materials at competitive pricing.
The Company recently released additional metallurgical information highlighting progress to date, that metallurgical assumptions in the Preliminary Economic Assessment were validated and that there is an opportunity to simplify the flow sheet which will improve efficiencies and lower operating costs. The Company has evaluated numerous flow sheet schemes and continues to refine the process with final flow sheet selection expected by year-end. This information will provide support for the feasibility study that is currently underway.
GWMG also contracted with three companies to prepare the SKK feasibility study including the primary independent project coordinator and author of the NI 43-101 compliant report, the independent QP to complete the SKK process plant and surface infrastructure portion of the study and the independent QP to prepare the SKK underground mine and infrastructure design portion. The Company plans to complete the feasibility study by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
The new MRE was completed using additional information that was not available at the time of the December 2012 resource estimate, including 31 underground channel samples, an additional 54 drill holes that were drilled in 2012 but awaiting assay results at the time of the December report, and 33 holes that were drilled in 2013. The 2013 drill program resulted in infill drilling on areas of lower data density that allowed previously categorized Inferred mineral resources to be upgraded to the Indicated category and certain Indicated mineral resources to be upgraded to the Measured category. The diamond drilling program was also successful in extending the main monazite zone along strike east and west and down-dip of the previous mineral resource.
The results of the new MRE (see Table 1) show an increase of TREO bringing the total in situ Measured and Indicated resource to 83,600 tonnes, and the total Measured and Indicated mineral resource to 86,900 tonnes once the tailings are factored into the estimate. The MRE also contains an additional in situ Inferred resource of 60,000 tonnes of mineralization which hosts 6,200 tonnes TREO at a modeled average grade of 10.46% TREO. All tailings now report to the Indicated category for a total of 46,000 tonnes surface material hosting 3,300 tonnes TREO at a lower grade of 7.18% TREO due to the addition of dilutionary low radioactivity soils during clean-up and combination of the two historic tailings dams and immediate area into a single tailings dam.
The Company’s cash and cash equivalent position at September 30, 2013 was $28.3 million, exclusive of US$3.6 million held in escrow to service bond interest payments paid in October, compared with $34.1 million at June 30, 2013. The Company has implemented a number of operational initiatives to achieve lower cash outflows. By the end of 2013, the Company estimates that its cash balance will be approximately $23 million.
Mr. LeVier added, “We have focused our resources on those critical components which help de-risk the SKK project and have minimized expenditures to non-core assets. We have rationalized certain office space in an effort to improve our cash outlays and will continue to take a prudent approach to expense management. We believe our current financial position is sufficient to meet our near-term objectives, though as previously disclosed, the Company has retained a financial advisor to provide assistance in reviewing our optimal capital structure and sources of project funding.”
GWMG has granted 50,000 options to acquire common shares of the Company to an officer of its subsidiary, Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited in order to correct an administrative oversight. The options are exercisable into common shares of the Company at a price of $0.175 per share until April 5, 2018 and will vest in accordance with the Company’s stock option plan.
Brent C. Jellicoe, P.Geo., is the Chief Geologist for Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine (Pty) Ltd., and is the Qualified Person (as defined under National Instrument 43-101) responsible for supervising the preparation of the technical content of this news release.
Teleconference and Webcast
The Company will host a conference call and webcast to review its results, key market initiatives and business strategy on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET. A question-and-answer session will follow.
The conference call can be accessed by calling (201) 689-8471. The live listen-only audio webcast can be monitored on the Company’s website at www.gwmg.ca, where it will be archived afterwards, along with a transcript once available.
A telephonic replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. ET the day of the teleconference until Friday, November 22, 2013. To listen to the archived call, dial (858) 384-5517 and enter replay pin number 13572560.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is a leader in the manufacture and supply of rare earth element-based metals and metal alloys. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. Produced at the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, Less Common Metals Limited in Ellesmere Port, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain transition metals, including nickel, cobalt, iron and other rare earth elements. As part of the Company’s vertical integration strategy, GWMG also holds 100% equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which controls the Steenkampskraal monazite mine in South Africa. The Company also holds interests in three rare earth exploration properties in North America that are not active.
The Company routinely posts news and other information on its website at www.gwmg.ca.
Email inquiries can also be made to email@example.com.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements (often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as “expect”, “may”, “could”, “anticipate” or “will” and similar expressions) may describe expectations, opinions or guidance that are not statements of fact and which may be based upon information provided by third parties. Forward-looking statements are based upon the opinions, expectations and estimates of management of GWMG as at the date the statements are made and are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Those factors include, but are not limited to the assumptions and estimates in the October 2013 resource estimate and the preliminary economic assessment of the Steenkampskraal project proving to be accurate over time; the construction, commissioning and operation of the proposed monazite processing facility and separation facility within estimated parameters; mine refurbishment activities; reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines and commencement of production at Steenkampskraal; risks related to the receipt of all required approvals including those relating to the commencement of production at the Steenkampskraal mine, delays in obtaining permits, licenses and operating authorities in Canada, South Africa and China, environmental matters, water and land use risks; risks associated with the industry in general, commodity prices and exchange rate changes, operational risks associated with exploration, development and production operations, delays or changes in plans, including those estimated in the preliminary economic assessment of the Steenkampskraal project; risks associated with the uncertainty of resource estimates; health and safety risks; uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses; risks that future Steenkampskraal and region exploration results may not meet exploration or corporate objectives; the adequacy of the Company’s financial resources and the availability of additional cash from operations or from financing on reasonable terms or at all; political risks inherent in South Africa and China; risks associated with the relationship between GWMG and/or its subsidiaries and communities and governments in Canada and South Africa, radioactivity and related issues, dependence on one mineral project; loss of, and the inability to attract, key personnel; the factors discussed in the Company’s public disclosure record; and other factors that could cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated. In light of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon forward-looking information. Although GWMG believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements set out in this press release or incorporated herein by reference are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Except as required by law, GWMG does not assume any obligation to update forward looking statements as set out in this news release. The forward-looking statements of GWMG contained in this News Release, or incorporated herein by reference, are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement and the risk factors contained in GWMG’s Annual Information Form available at www.sedar.com.
Table 1: Summary Table of October 2013 Mineral Resource Estimate
|Area||Class||Mineralization (tonnes)||Item||TREO (tonnes)|
|in situ Exploration||Indicated||320,000||Metal Tonnes||44,100|
|All in situ||Subtotal
|All in situ||Subtotal
|All in situ||Subtotal
|Measured + Indicated||559,000||Metal Tonnes||83,600|
|Combined Tailings||Indicated||46,000||Metal Tonnes||3,300|
in situ and tailings Measured + Indicated
- TREO refers to total rare earth oxides plus yttrium oxide.
- Grades for in situ Mine and Exploration area for each resource category are “as reported” from datamine modelling.
- Material tonnes were rounded to 3 significant figures.
- Metal tonnes for TREO were rounded to nearest hundred tonnes.
- Grades were rounded to 2 decimal places. Apparent errors may appear as a result of rounding.
- The metal tonnes for Indicated and Inferred totals were calculated by summing the metal tonnes of each category in each area.
- The grades for Indicated and Inferred were calculated by dividing the metal tonnes by the tonnage as reported by datamine modelling.
- Resource estimates based on a cut-off of 1% TREO.
|GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.|
|CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS|
|($ in CAD)|
|September 30||December 31|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||28,323,895||$||52,095,448|
|Deposits and prepaid expenses||1,854,948||837,315|
|Property, plant and equipment||19,902,927||16,388,314|
|Exploration and evaluation assets||15,398,642||17,624,225|
|Accounts payable and accrued liabilities||10,339,861||10,520,453|
|Current portion of provisions||642,225||1,065,175|
|Convertible bonds – debt||62,015,821||55,810,316|
|Convertible bonds – embedded conversion option||130,114||7,047,954|
|Share based payments reserve||11,016,191||10,274,967|
|Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)||(7,236,040||)||(5,093,029||)|
|Total shareholders’ equity||4,992,215||26,418,688|
|Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity||$||79,468,933||$||103,556,268|
|GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.|
|CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS|
|($ in CAD)|
|For the three months ended||For the nine months ended|
|September 30,||September 30,|
|Cost of materials||2,939,345||3,625,731||8,575,134||8,948,567|
|General and administration||888,933||977,623||3,625,720||2,850,437|
|Wages and benefits||2,208,526||1,566,785||5,733,547||4,885,365|
|Stock based compensation||169,969||619,761||741,224||2,536,727|
|Depreciation and amortization||321,866||244,462||1,110,111||732,282|
|Exploration and evaluation||1,397,386||3,614,801||6,178,854||9,191,809|
|Impairment of property, plant and equipment||–||–||153,487||5,265,188|
|Exchange (gain) loss||(511,315||)||206,737||501,398||(248,491||)|
|Interest expense and finance costs||(3,256,411||)||(2,594,320||)||(9,195,239||)||(7,283,185||)|
|Gain on conversion option||174,331||2,166,221||6,917,840||10,966,496|
|Other income (expense)||8,930||125,317||21,998||154,949|
|Loss before income taxes||7,437,670||7,271,398||20,024,686||20,890,955|
|Income tax recovery (expense)||–||28,685||115,155||(87,047||)|
|Other comprehensive income (loss):|
|Items that may be reclassified to profit and loss:|
|Unrealized gain on available for sale investments||–||(108,262||)||–||–|
|Other comprehensive income (loss)||(78,931||)||(1,643,524||)||(2,143,011||)||(1,629,049||)|
|Total comprehensive loss||7,516,601||8,886,237||22,052,542||22,607,051|
|Basic and fully diluted loss per share||$||0.018||$||0.017||$||0.048||$||0.051|
|Weighted average number of shares outstanding||418,738,174||416,671,306||418,738,174||414,880,634|
|GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.|
|CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOW|
|For the nine months ended|
|Cash provided by (used in)|
|Net loss for the period||$||(19,909,531||)||$||(20,978,002||)|
|Depreciation and amortization||1,110,111||732,282|
|Stock based compensation||741,224||2,536,727|
|Impairment of inventory||123,144||–|
|Impairment of property, plant and equipment||153,487||5,265,188|
|Gain on conversion option||(6,917,840||)||(10,966,496||)|
|Income tax (recovery) expense||(115,155||)||87,047|
|Income tax received (paid)||122,273||(262,756||)|
|Gain on Vaaldiam Mining shares||–||(108,261||)|
|Other operating items||(3,977,931||)||(3,922,552||)|
|Property, plant and equipment||(4,989,288||)||(8,878,471||)|
|Issuance of share capital, net of issuance costs||–||513,910|
|Issuance of convertible bonds, net of issue costs||–||83,405,896|
|Net change in amounts in escrow||3,659,040||(10,618,560||)|
|Net change in short-term borrowings||(699,916||)||–|
|Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents during the period||(25,086,502||)||44,229,848|
|Exchange rate changes on foreign currency cash balances||1,314,948||(556,637||)|
|Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period||52,095,448||10,930,208|
|Cash and cash equivalents, end of period||$||28,323,895||$||54,603,419|
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