Great Western Studies Restart of Rare Earth Mine

Great Western Minerals Group, a Canadian company, has entered into an option agreement with Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. (Rareco) of Stellenbosch, South Africa, to refurbish, re-commission, and operate the currently abandoned Steenkampskraal underground rare earth mine in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Under the terms of the agreement, GWMG has agreed to pay Rareco an amount of ZAR1 million (approximately C$125,000) for this option, payable in two tranches. The first payment of ZAR500,000 was paid on signing the agreement.

The second payment of ZAR500,000 will be made upon delivery by Rareco of an updated feasibility study and the receipt of confirmation that the application for conversion of its current Old Order Mining Right to a new mining license has been accepted by the South African Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs. The updated feasibility study is expected to be completed by March 31, 2009, and receipt of the confirmation of acceptance is expected by June 30, 2009.

Using existing technology, Rareco believes that it can extract thorium during the production of a final mixed rare earth chloride concentrate to meet any and all customer and environmental requirements.

Current plans call for the extracted thorium to be mixed with concrete and stored in designated areas within the underground mine. The thorium can then be recovered through a simple acid digestion process if, as and when required.

Jim Engdahl, president and CEO of GWMG said, “If the feasibility study confirms economic viability, we are optimistic that we could move this project into production within 24 months of the completion of that study.

As featured in Womp 09 Vol 01 -