EDITOR: | November 12th, 2013

Great Western Minerals Significantly Upgrades Mineral Resource Estimate for Steenkampskraal Rare Earth Project

| November 12, 2013 | No Comments

Great-Western-Minerals-Group-logo-200x125November 12, 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, today announced that its new NI 43-101 compliant technical report and mineral resource estimate (“MRE”) for the Steenkampskraal rare earth project (“SKK”) shows a significant increase of tonnes in the Indicated category and the addition of newly defined tonnes in the Measured category. Overall, the size of the resource has increased compared with the Company’s previously released mineral resource estimate dated December 2012.

Highlights of the MRE are as follows (resource estimates based on 1% cut-off grade):

  • 16,600 tonnes total rare earth oxides including yttrium oxide (“TREO”) from the in situ resource now report to the Measured category
  • 67,000 tonnes TREO in the in situ Indicated category, an increase of 38,200 tonnes
  • 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% compared with the December 2012 MRE, due to the combination of the two historic tailings dams and addition of low radioactivity materials recovered during site clean-up
  • Overall increase of 171%, or 54,800 tonnes TREO, in the in situ and tailings Measured and Indicated categories to 86,900 tonnes

Company President and CEO Marc LeVier stated, “A significant increase in assay data from core drilling and underground sampling at SKK during the last year has provided input for a new resource estimate. The results of the MRE show an increase of total rare earth oxides including yttrium oxide bringing the total in situ and tailings Indicated and Measured resource to 86,900 tonnes TREO. We also saw a substantial upgrade of the previous Inferred resource component to the Indicated category or better, and increased the overall tonnes of TREO that are candidates for conversion to formal reserves.”

The new MRE on the SKK project, which has been prepared by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants Inc. (“Snowden”), is dated effective October 31, 2013 and will be filed and available under the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com within 45 days.

For its new MRE, the Company provided the additional information shown in Table 1 beyond that utilized in the mineral resource estimate dated December 31, 2012. This additional information contributed to increasing the data density and the extent of mineralization both along strike and down-dip.

Table 1: Comparison of Data Input for Recent Mineral Resource Estimates

Data Comparison December 2012 MRE and PEA October 2013 MRE Difference
Data Cut-off 31-Oct-12 31-Aug-13
Drillholes (Resource, MET, and EXP) 145 232 87
Drilling Meterage 16,270.55 27,977.00 11,726.45
Number of Core Samples 789 1,079 290
Number of Blank Holes 27 69 42
Number of Mineralized Intersections 96 147 51
Average Reef True Thickness (metre) 1.04 0.96 -0.08
Number of UG Channels 71 102 31
Number of Channel + Panel Samples 223 277 54
Number of Tailings Samples 270 290 20
Data Quality Assay + Calculated grades All Assay grades
Data Density Infill incomplete; four domains; not bounded Infill complete; 6 domains; bounded

The results of the new MRE are shown in Table 2, below, and Table 3, appended to the end of the document.

Table 2: Results of October 2013 MRE compared with December 2012 MRE

Download (PDF, 517KB)

Table Notes:

  • 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 three significant figures.
  • Metal tonnes for TREO were rounded to nearest hundred tonnes.
  • For the Oct 2013 MRE, grades were rounded to two decimal places. Apparent errors may result due to 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.

Geology and Mineralization
The SKK mineralization consists of a narrow, shallow and irregular dipping (from 10° to 60° to the south), pinch and swell monazite vein, which is exposed at surface as an east-west striking body. It has an average true thickness of about one metre (“m”), varying from less than two centimetres (“cm”) to just over ten metres. The vein has been traced for a strike-length of over 1,050 m and a known southerly down-dip extension of up to 150 m. The current MRE covers the full known strike-length. The vein structure exhibits reasonably good lateral and vertical continuity, although the known mineralization is dissected by several fault structures of varying orientation, some of which have resulted in vertical and lateral displacements of one metre to tens of metres. Based on drilling results since 2011, which targeted shallow mineralization to a depth of approximately 150 m, mineralization currently is closed along strike in both directions and locally down-dip. However, the interpretation in the structural geology model supports the potential for an extension of mineralization beyond the known east and west bounding faults.

Mineralogical investigations indicate that the vein is composed predominantly of the mineral monazite, which accounts for more than 91% of total rare earth elements, with much lesser amounts of rare earth element-bearing allanite, thorite, and xenotime. Alteration minerals are dominated by quartz, Fe-chlorite, magnetic Fe-oxide minerals, ilmenite, and sulphides including chalcopyrite, pyrite and galena. Vein material at SKK contains from 0.4% to 46% TREO, with the average grade typically dependent on the amount of diluting materials (such as quartz, feldspar, magnetite and sulphides) within the vein structure.

The historic SKK mine has been partially rehabilitated by GWMG and all three access levels and most of the old workings remain open to geological and geotechnical investigations. Evaluation and exploration work from September 2011 to March 2013 consisted of surveying, mapping, and sampling 232 HQ and NQ surface drillholes totalling 27,977 m within the mine and adjacent exploration areas along strike and down-dip, and 102 underground channels within the historic mine workings. In addition, GWMG undertook evaluation drilling and sampling of the historic tailings dams. The rock dump has also been sampled, but was not included in this MRE.

Survey information, intercept thicknesses, lithological descriptions, density measurements, scintillometer readings and assay results for 1,626 samples were included in evaluation of mineral resources in this MRE. In comparison with the December 2012 resource estimate, no calculated grades resulting from correlation of scintillometer data to assay results were utilized. Drillhole fence lines are oriented along down-dip lines perpendicular to strike on nominal 25 m to 50 m line spacing, and 25 m collar centers. Of the 232 drillholes reviewed by Snowden, 69 did not intersect the zone of mineralization. These reported “misses” represent either drilling beyond the vein boundaries, local areas of non-mineralization within the vein system that may be related to “pinch and swell,” or to areas of structural displacement. Many of the misses were incurred during step-out drilling while searching for extensions of mineralization. Areas of mineralization bounded by faults with displacement were used to domain the zones of mineralization for greater control and confidence in the resource estimate methodology.

Quality Assurance / Quality Control
The validated database for the MRE includes information on 1,079 core samples, 277 in situ underground samples, and 290 tailings samples. Drill holes that did not contain assay data were included as they provided lithological information for the wireframe modeling.

SGS Canada conducted the assay testing. Snowden examined the assay data of the blanks, certified reference materials, and field duplicates to verify and assess the reliability of the overall assay dataset, and to assist in the determination of the robustness of the resource estimation. The addition of quality control samples for core, channel and tailings samples amounts to 19% of overall rare earth assays. It was concluded by Snowden that the addition of reference material and blanks to the SKK sample batches was sufficiently adequate.

Modelling and Estimation Method
The mineralized zone wireframe representing the mineralized zone was generated using Leapfrog™ software after much verification work, and guided by the available geological information. All of the assay intervals falling within the mineralized zone were composited to the dominant sample length of 0.5 m.

Establishment of Block Models and Variography Analysis
The interior of the mineralization wireframe was populated with blocks measuring 10 m by 10 m by 0.5 m using Datamine™ Studio version 3 software. Sub-blocking was used to provide for a more accurate volume determination; the smallest dimension for sub-blocks being 1.25 m by 1.25 m by 0.1 m. No rotation of blocks was applied as the strike and dip of the monazite was honored through the small dimensions of sub-blocking.

Variograms were generated for each of the rare earth oxides (“REOs”), as well as yttrium, thorium and uranium, only using the assay data from the mineralized zone. Two structured (exponential first structures and spherical second structures) directional variograms were modeled. Down-hole variograms were calculated and modeled to determine the nugget variance for the variogram models. The data occurring within the wireframes were combined for the domained zones to generate more robust variograms. All variograms were modeled on normal scores transformed data and back-transformed prior to their use in grade estimation. The variograms showed well developed structure and long ranges.

The block model comprises blocks of 10 m by 10 m by 0.5 m with sub-blocks down to 1.25 m by 1.25 m by 0.1 m in order to honor the attitude and shape of the mineralization.

Grade Interpolation Parameters
Block grades for the individual REOs, yttrium, thorium and uranium were estimated using ordinary kriging. The six domains used for modeling were delineated based on the location of major faults, and a small area of complexity characterized by bifurcation or interleaving of monazite veins. The zones were estimated separately and individual block models combined for classification.

TREO%, LREO% and HREO% (each as defined in Table 3) values, which were calculated for reporting by combining the estimated grades of the individual REOs, were also estimated in the block model as a check to ensure the preservation of the total package and for validation, but these were not reported.

A strong correlation was observed between density measurements and TREO% values. A linear regression was therefore used to define a relationship between density and TREO%, and subsequently used to estimate density values into the block model using the estimated TREO% grades in each block.

The block model was depleted for ‘past production’ using current survey information pertaining to the underground development and mined-out areas. This ensured that parts of the model representing stopes and development workings were not included in the resource estimate.

Classification of the mineral resource took into consideration data quality (including location information), confidence in the structural framework, and confidence in the resource estimate. This has been adjusted following the 2012 estimates based on the acquisition of new data as well as improved confidence in the geological framework following the recent structural geology interpretation.

Resource Estimate for the Tailings Dams
In December 2012, Snowden completed a mineral resource estimate of the tailings dams, which was reported with the December 2012 mineral resource estimate. During mid-2013, the Company moved and combined the tailings material (25,340 m3) to an alternate location. The new tailings dam volume, including the surrounding berm, is 31,269 m3.

It was not possible to attribute the grades of the December 2012 tailings dam grade models to any discrete portion of the new dam or berm, due to commingling of material sourced from the original tailings dam mixed with contaminated soil. It must be considered that the tailings are now all mixed, and the average and diluted grade be applied to the whole.

The December 2012 estimate of the tailings mineral resource comprised 24,560 m3 (36,600 tonnes) at 8.8% TREO+Y2O3 of Indicated Resource, and 780 m3 (1,200 tonnes or around 4% of the tailings) at 7.5% TREO+Y2O3 of Inferred Resource.

For reporting of the tailings mineral resource, the grade of the tailings was therefore combined and factored by 0.81 (0.81=25,340/31,269, representing the ratio of volumes) so that the grade of the overall tailings is now reported as 7.18% TREO+Y2O3. This assumed the density remains unchanged, so the metal content is preserved. If the density is decreased, or GWMG is able to segregate tailings from waste, then the tonnage will decrease and the grade will increase, but the estimated metal content will remain unchanged. This grade is consistent with grab samples from the tailings.

The Indicated and Inferred portions cannot now be separated, and therefore Snowden took the stance to include the entire tailings resource in the Indicated category. Snowden elected to maintain the classification of the tailings resource as an Indicated mineral resource because of the certainty that all of the tailings were relocated, the added dilution is added with a zero grade, the subsequent average grade is well above cutoff, and the dump will be treated as a part of the environmental cleanup if the project succeeds in development into a producing mine.

Qualified Person statement
The October 2013 MRE has been prepared by Mr. Ivor Jones, (BSc. Hons), MSc, FAusIMM, CP Geo., the Group General Manager of Geosciences with Snowden. He contributed to and supervised the mineral resource estimate for the Steenkampskraal rare earth project. Mr. Jones consents to the inclusion in this news release of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears. Mr. Jones has sufficient experience, relevant to the type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking, to qualify as a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) and supervised the preparation of the contents of the Resource Estimate section of this news release.

Mr. Brent C. Jellicoe, P.Geo. is the Chief Geologist for Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine (Pty) Ltd and is the Qualified Person (as defined under NI 43-101) responsible for supervising all exploration activities and preparation of the technical content of this news release.

About GWMG
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 four 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 info@gwmg.ca.

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.

Cautionary Statement
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 31, 2013 mineral resource estimate and 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 3: Mineral Resource Statement for the Steenkampskraal Mineral Resource (October 2013) at a cut-off of 1% TREO

Download (PDF, 449KB)

Table Notes:

  • Material tonnes were rounded to 3 significant figures.
  • The metal tonnes for Indicated and Inferred totals were calculated by summing the metal tonnes of each category in each area.
  • Grades for in situ Mine and Exploration area for each resource category are “as reported” from datamine modelling.
  • Grades were rounded to 2 decimal places with exception to Tm2O3, Lu2O3 (which were rounded to 3 decimals).
  • Rare Earth Oxides (“REO”) may be divided into Light Rare Earth Oxides (“LREO”) and Heavy Rare Earth Oxides (“HREO”). The LREOs comprise lanthanum (“La2O3“), cerium (“CeO2“), praseodymium (“Pr6O11“), neodymium (“Nd2O3“) and samarium (“Sm2O3“) and the HREOs consist of europium (“Eu2O3“), gadolinium (“Gd2O3“), terbium (“Tb4O7“), dysprosium (“Dy2O3“), holmium (“Ho2O3“), thulium (“Tm2O3“), ytterbium (“Yb2O3“) and lutetium (“Lu2O3“). Yttrium (“Y2O3“), thorium (“ThO2“) and uranium (“UO2“) are also included in the oxides estimated.
  • For the purposes of this table, HREO does not include Y2O3

Raj Shah


Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>

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