ENP Newswire - 15 August 2014
Release date- 14082014 - SASKATOON, SK, Canada - Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (TSX.V: GWG / OTCQX: GWMGF), a leader in the manufacture and supply of rare earth element-based metal alloys and holder of a low cost, high-grade critical rare earth element mineral property in the Western Cape province of South Africa, today reported its second quarter financial results through June 30, 2014, and provided an update on the Company's activities.
All amounts are presented in Canadian dollars unless indicated otherwise.
Highlights and Results:
Second quarter revenue increased 31% to $5.6 million over the prior-year period on strong alloy sales as a result of enhanced capabilities and increased customer demand. Revenue was generated by the Company's production subsidiary Less Common Metals Limited ('LCM') Released the Steenkampskraal project's feasibility study results during the quarter; Company moving permit process forward and focused on securing financing to develop the project Company had $13.1 million in cash as of June 30, 2014
Marc LeVier, Company President and CEO, commented, 'During the first half of this year, we successfully advanced our mine to metals strategy. We completed and published the Steenkampskraal feasibility study, which reinforced our belief that we have the industry's best sized, most economically viable, high grade critical rare earth asset that can be produced in a cost effective manner. We also focused much time and energy on implementing efficiencies throughout the organization as we build a foundation to support future progress at SKK and LCM.'
Mr. LeVier added, 'Since the conclusion of the feasibility study, we have continued to progress permit applications for the SKK operation and have been actively targeting sources of additional financing which would allow continuation of the Company's operations and for the development of the Steenkampskraal project. We have also had very preliminary discussions with the Company's bondholders surrounding the potential restructuring of our current debt.'
Manufacturing services revenue was $5.6 million in the second quarter of 2014, a $1.3 million, or 31%, increase over the same period of the prior year as higher volumes and favorable exchange rates more than offset declining alloy prices. In the recent quarter, the Company sold 85 metric tonnes of alloys compared with 69 metric tonnes of alloys in the second quarter of 2013. The increase in volume can be attributed to increased customer demand for product from the new strip cast furnaces that are now fully commissioned.
Future growth will continue to be dependent on the Company's ability to obtain the necessary rare earth materials at competitive pricing. The Company is working with its customers to identify sources of raw material to meet their short-term demands until the SKK project is developed and production is achieved.
Gross margin of $1.1 million was relatively consistent with the prior-year period; however, as a percent of revenue, gross margin declined to 19.9% from 24.8%. Margin contraction primarily reflected a change in product mix as higher volume, lower margin sales occurred during the second quarter of 2014 compared with the prior-year period. The manufacturing services segment generated a loss of $1.1 million from continuing operations in the second quarter of 2014 compared with a loss of $0.4 million in the 2013 period.
During the 2014 second quarter, the Company completed a sale of certain assets of its Great Western Technologies Inc. ('GWTI') operation. GWTI paid US$741,836 for the acquirer to assume GWTI's lease obligations and US$1.2 million in restoration liabilities associated with the GWTI operation. As a result, the acquirer assumed ownership of GWTI's property, plant, equipment and inventory.
Accordingly, the results of GWTI and cash flows of GWTI's operations have been separately presented as discontinued operations in the Company's condensed consolidated interim statements of comprehensive loss and condensed consolidated interim statements of cash flows.
During the 2014 second quarter, the Company's focus was on various technical and engineering studies, mine planning activities, and working with its independent consultants to enable the completion of the SKK project feasibility study. The Company expended $0.8 million during the quarter on those activities compared with $2.4 million for various exploration and evaluation investigations during the second quarter of 2013.
In early May, the Company announced the results of the SKK project feasibility study, indicating the following highlights:
$274 Million after-tax net present value applying a 10% discount rate
50% after-tax internal rate of return
3.3 year estimated payback period
13-year life of mine
Initial capital expenditures of $118.8 million with post commercial production capital expenditures of $51.5 million
The National Instrument 43-101 compliant technical report containing the results of the feasibility study and the reserves estimate was filed on the SEDAR website on June 20, 2014.
The Company also continued to progress applications with the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Regulator, Department of Mineral Resources and on the Department of Water Affairs integrated water use permit. In addition, the Company is reviewing capital expenditure improvement opportunities and optimization testing in the lab on several aspects of the process flow sheet. Great Western continues to work toward obtaining an acceptable tolling arrangement for the separation of the mixed rare earth carbonate concentrate that will be produced at SKK.
The Company's cash and cash equivalent position at June 30, 2014 was $13.1 million compared with $23.6 million at the end of 2013. The Company continues to take a prudent approach to expense management and has significantly reduced its monthly cash outlays following various operational efficiency initiatives.
On April 7, 2014, the Company made its fourth semi-annual interest payment of US$3.6 million to service its convertible bonds and the first from funds not held in escrow. The Company believes that its current capital level will allow it to perform certain regulatory and compliance work and make its scheduled interest payments for 2014.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is a leader in the manufacture and supply of rare earth element-based metal alloys. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. Produced at the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Less Common Metals Limited in Ellesmere Port, U.K., these alloys contain transition metals, including nickel, cobalt, iron and 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.
Deborah K. Pawlowski
Craig P. Mychajluk
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 Feasibility Study of the Steenkampskraal project proving to be accurate over time; the construction, commissioning and operation of the proposed monazite processing facility within estimated parameters; mine refurbishment activities; reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines and commencement of production at Steenkampskraal; reliance on successful negotiations with third parties to separate mixed rare earth materials; 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 the United Kingdom, 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 feasibility study of the Steenkampskraal project; risks associated with the uncertainty of resource and reserve estimates; health and safety risks; uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses; risks that future Hoidas Lake or Steenkampskraal and region exploration results may not meet exploration or corporate objectives; the adequacy of the Company's financial resources, including in connection with any possible restructuring of the Company's bonds and/or the availability of additional cash from operations or from financing on reasonable terms or at all; political risks inherent in South Africa; 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.