Great Western Minerals Provides Metallurgical Update on Steenkampskraal Project
October 7, 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-based metal alloys and high purity metals with a low cost, high-grade critical rare earth asset, provided an update on metallurgical advances on the Steenkampskraal (“SKK”) rare earth project.
Company President and CEO Marc LeVier stated, “We continue to make significant progress in de-risking the SKK project. The metallurgical testing is providing positive data with regard to the design criteria and flow sheet development and has validated assumptions in the PEA. We have confirmed the value of pre-concentration techniques and testing has shown there is an opportunity to simplify the flow sheet. This will allow for improved process efficiency and lower operating costs. The development work continues to demonstrate that the SKK project is one of the most robust REE deposits in the world with very low capital requirements supported by very high TREO grades.”
In 2013, the Company divided the metallurgical testing into three phases and, to date, has completed phase one and significantly advanced phase two. Test work is progressing and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. The current testing program in respect of optimization is being conducted by GWMG staff, along with Mintek in South Africa and the Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon.
Phase 1: Metallurgical Flow Sheet Development Testing
|X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray Transmission (XRT)||— XRF sorting results were promising, but had limited applicability
— XRT sorting demonstrated that 28% of overall mass can be rejected as waste with less than 2% total rare earth oxide (“TREO”) loss
|Gravity separation techniques||— Shaking tables and spirals eliminated from consideration due to poor test results
— Dense media separation (DMS) testing demonstrated that 43% of the feed weight can be rejected as waste with less than 1% TREO loss
|Magnetic separation techniques||— Low intensity magnetic separation test results indicated limited mass reduction and significant TREO loss
— Dry high intensity magnetic separation resulted in improved TREO recoveries with mass reduction in the range of 15%
|Monazite flotation||— Rougher flotation recovered up to 97% of TREO with a concentrate grade of 41% TREO
— Rougher concentrate grade was further upgraded to greater than 48% TREO with the flotation recovery of 89%
Phase 2: Evaluation of Hydrometallurgical Processing of Monazite Concentrates
|Chemical beneficiation||— Nitric acid treatment on the monazite flotation concentrate improved the TREO grade to 53%|
|Cracking options: caustic and sulphuric acid||— Caustic cracking of a run of mine sample followed by acid leach demonstrated that a TREO extraction of approximately 80% can be achieved
— When a monazite flotation concentrate with a 41% TREO grade was treated in a similar manner, a TREO extraction of 89% was obtained
— Test work continues to refine the process to improve extractions
|Purification||— Hydrometallurgical testing demonstrated that radium, thorium and other radioactive components can be selectively removed from the leach solutions
— Solution purification testing is continuing to evaluate different methodologies
Phase 3: Optimization and Finalization of Process Design
|Optimization and finalization||— Metallurgical testing continues to optimize the process design parameters for the selection of the final flow sheet and the completion of an NI 43-101 compliant feasibility study
— Numerous flow sheet schemes have been evaluated and reduced to five overall processes. Further testing will reduce the options to the final flow sheet selection for the feasibility study which is in progress
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Qualified Person Statement
Baodong Zhao (PhD, P.Eng.), Vice-President, Metallurgy of GWMG, is the Qualified Person (as defined under National Instrument 43-101) responsible for supervising the preparation of the technical content of this news release.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is a leader in the manufacture and supply of rare earth-based alloys and high purity metals with a low cost, high-grade critical rare earth asset. 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 four rare earth exploration properties in North America that are not active.
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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 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.
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