Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is engaged in becoming an integrated rare earth producer. 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 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 addition to an exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG also holds interests in four active rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.
Great Western Minerals (CVE:GWG) said late Wednesday that it plans to launch a secured convertible bond financing, with GMP Securities and ISM Capital as co-lead agents.
The bonds will be due five years from issuance and will be convertible into common shares of Great Western at a conversion rate yet to be determined, the company said.
The most recent closing price of the company's shares was $0.55.
The new funds from the offering will be used by the company to complete an NI 43-101 compliant technical report on the company's Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa, and to advance the development of the operation.
The funds will also be used to construct the company's monazite processing facility and rare earths separation facility as well as for the expansion of its processing subsidiary Less Common Metals and for general working capital purposes.
Saskatoon- headquartered Great Western Minerals is well on its way to becoming a fully integrated rare earth company as it combines upstream resource exploration and extraction at its Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa with downstream metals processing facilities in the US and UK.
The company is working on completing an NI 43-101 compliant report for the Steenkampskraal mine to confirm historical data and expand the size of the resource, expected in the first half of this year.
In January, the company also inked a joint venture deal with China's Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group for the construction of a rare earth separation plant nearby the South African property.
"The proposed secured convertible bond financing is a transformational event for the company and is key to the completion of the next steps of the company’s development," said president and CEO Jim Engdahl.
"Execution of the company's strategic business plan involves the company becoming a first mover in the rare earth industry and completing its fully integrated business model.
"This strategy has been central to the company's focus and we are extremely pleased to be working with GMP, ISM and Byron on this offering."
Separately, Great Western said Wednesday that it has appointed Robert Gilmore and George Ireland to its board of directors, subject to regulatory approval.
Gilmore has been chairman of Eldorado Gold (TSE:ELD) since 2009, having served on the board as an independent director since 2003 and as chairman of the audit committee since 2004. He has more than 30 years of experience working with resource companies.
Ireland serves as chief investment officer and managing member of Geologic Resource Partners LLC as well as portfolio manager of Geologic Resource Funds, and also has 30 years of experience in all aspects of the resource sector, ranging from field geology through to banking and corporate finance. Ireland has served as a director with companies that include Blue Wolf Mongolia Holdings, Peru Copper, Geoinformatics Exploration, Kiska Metals and Uranium Resources.
Executive chairman, Gary Billingsley, added: "GWMG is very pleased to be able to attract such highly qualified board members to our company.
"The significant resource sector backgrounds of Robert Gilmore and George Ireland will further strengthen our team at GWMG. We are very confident that the addition of these independent directors will serve our shareholders' interests exceptionally well."
Great Western's specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries and are produced at the company's subsidiaries, Less Common Metals in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies in Troy, Michigan.
The company also holds 100 percent equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, which owns a 74 percent equity interest in the Steenkampskraal Mine. Aside from this, Great Western holds interests in four rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.