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Great Western Minerals Group Reports Second Quarter 2013 Results and Provides Project Update

SASKATOON, SK--(Marketwired - Aug 14, 2013) - 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 alloys and high purity metals with a low cost, high-grade critical rare earth asset (the "Steenkampskraal Project" or "SKK"), today released second quarter financial results through June 30, 2013, and provided an update on the Company's activities.

Second Quarter Results and Highlights

  • Revenue increased $0.9 million, or 25.0%, to $4.5 million in the second quarter of 2013 from $3.6 million in the prior-year period. Company revenue was primarily attributable to its production subsidiary Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM")
  • Successful production of neodymium metal from oxide using electrolytic reduction process
  • Completed installation of second strip cast furnace at LCM; successfully tested and now producing alloys for customers

Marc LeVier, President and CEO, commented, "We continue to make progress with our near term objectives. During the quarter, we vertically integrated our production capabilities as we began the development and testing phase of making neodymium metal from oxide using an electrolytic reduction process. This is significant as it will increase our raw feed material source options as we aim to utilize our recent capacity upgrades. At SKK, we initiated work for a feasibility study which is expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2014. Also, many compliance and restoration activities that are required prior to initiating production are taking place and being completed."

Manufacturing Services

Manufacturing services revenue increased by 25.0% to $4.5 million in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the same period in the prior year on more than double production with the completion of the move to the new facility and installation of two new strip cast furnaces. For the recent quarter, the Company sold 69 metric tonnes of alloys compared with 33 metric tonnes of alloys for the same period in 2012. The increase in volume was attributable to the addition of the strip casting furnace in the current year and the planned reduction of 2012 sales as the Company was preparing for the move of its UK based manufacturing facility into a newer and larger facility. The change in volume was partially offset by lower prices, as average prices for alloys have decreased in the range of 16% to 20% year-over-year.

Alloy volumes are anticipated to increase during the remaining part of 2013 as a result of the added manufacturing capacity, though the growth may be limited by the Company's ability to obtain the necessary rare earth materials at competitive pricing in order to produce alloys.

GWMG has outlined specific near-term objectives for its manufacturing services to include the continued pursuit of raw material and the expansion of its customer base.

Steenkampskraal Project

Exploration and evaluation expenses decreased $1.0 million to $2.4 million during the second quarter of 2013 from the prior-year period reflecting the Company's focus on critical components of the SKK Project. The majority of exploration drilling that was occurring in the prior year has been replaced with feasibility study costs including engineering and metallurgical test work.

During the second quarter, a combined airborne magnetic and radiometric survey was completed. More than 55 km2 were covered by the survey. When combined with a desk top study, field studies and sampling, the Company found 47 radiometric anomalies. GWMG continues to review these results and expects to identify priority targets in its prospecting region.

The Company initiated work for its SKK feasibility study in order to further de-risk the project and improve the accuracy of capital requirements as well as address items that are not covered in the preliminarily economic assessment of the SKK Project, such as detailed health and safety procedures and processes. The Company expects to complete the feasibility study in the first quarter of 2014. Some of the major components include development of a more detailed mine plan, metallurgical process development and optimization, geological models and plant design.

GWMG has also progressed on compliance activities and surface restoration to meet regulatory requirements. These activities continue to progress as planned and include consolidation of the legacy tailings and dumps and removal of old structures.

Liquidity

The Company's cash position at June 30, 2013 was at $34.1 million compared with $43.9 million at March 31, 2013. The Company has implemented a number of operational initiatives and expects to lower cash outflows during the second half of the year. By the end of 2013, the Company estimates that its cash balance will be approximately $23 million.

The Company has retained a financial advisor to provide assistance reviewing its optimal capital structure and sources of project funding.

Qualified Persons

Brent C. Jellicoe, B.Sc. (Hon.), P.Geo., Chief Geologist for Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine (Pty) Ltd., is the Qualified Person (as defined under National Instrument 43-101) responsible for supervising the preparation of the technical content of this news release.

Teleconference and Webcast

The Company will host a conference call and webcast to review its results, key market initiatives and business strategy on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. ET. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The conference call can be accessed by calling (201) 689-8471. The live listen-only audio webcast can be monitored on the Company's website at www.gwmg.ca, where it will be archived afterwards.

A telephonic replay will be available from 3:30 p.m. ET the day of the teleconference until Thursday, August 22, 2013. To listen to the archived call, dial (858) 384-5517 and enter replay pin number 417638. A transcript will also be posted on the Company's website, once available.

About GWMG
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 and development properties in North America that are not active.

The Company routinely posts news and other information on its website at www.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 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.

             
             
GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.  
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS  
(Unaudited)  
($in CAD)  
             
    As of  
    June 30     December 31  
    2013     2012  
Assets                
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 34,052,181     $ 52,095,448  
Accounts receivable     4,051,045       2,365,880  
Inventories     4,368,152       4,199,561  
Escrow account     3,786,480       7,163,280  
Deposits and prepaid expenses     1,654,871       837,315  
Current assets     47,912,729       66,661,484  
                 
Property, plant and equipment     19,775,141       16,388,314  
Exploration and evaluation assets     16,000,152       17,624,225  
Intangible assets     673,601       749,814  
Goodwill     2,107,257       2,132,431  
Non-current assets     38,556,151       36,894,784  
                 
Total assets     86,468,880       103,556,268  
                 
Liabilities                
Short-term borrowings     202,211       699,916  
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     9,497,724       10,520,453  
Current portion of provisions     659,126       1,065,175  
Current liabilities     10,359,061       12,285,544  
                 
Provisions     1,572,799       1,993,766  
Convertible bonds - debt     61,893,726       55,810,316  
Convertible bonds - embedded conversion option     304,445       7,047,954  
Non-current liabilities     63,770,970       64,852,036  
                 
Total liabilities     74,130,031       77,137,580  
                 
Shareholders' Equity                
Share capital     111,747,305       111,747,305  
Warrants     11,702,153       11,817,308  
Share based payments reserve     10,846,224       10,274,967  
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)     (7,469,808 )     (5,405,728 )
Deficit     (114,487,025 )     (102,015,164 )
                 
Total shareholders' equity     12,338,849       26,418,688  
                 
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity   $ 86,468,880     $ 103,556,268  
                 
                 
   
   
GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.  
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS  
(Unaudited)  
($in CAD)  
                         
    For the three months     For the six months  
    ended June 30,     ended June 30,  
    2013     2012     2013     2012  
                                 
Sales   $ 4,543,106     $ 3,633,751     $ 8,049,449     $ 8,110,847  
Cost of materials     3,292,977       2,636,676       5,635,789       5,322,836  
Gross margin     1,250,129       997,075       2,413,660       2,788,011  
Expenses                                
  General and administration     1,477,061       1,111,593       2,736,787       2,226,257  
  Wages and benefits     1,870,482       1,539,075       3,525,021       2,965,137  
  Stock based compensation     403,641       1,069,138       571,255       1,916,966  
  Professional fees     583,301       1,073,568       1,180,738       1,516,783  
  Investor relations     45,126       103,371       122,075       120,765  
  Occupancy     473,437       475,556       1,022,450       992,836  
  Depreciation and amortization     392,328       116,328       788,245       487,820  
  Exploration and evaluation     2,405,479       3,418,109       4,781,468       5,577,008  
  Property research     -       33,781       -       33,990  
  Impairment of property, plant and equipment     -       -       153,487       -  
  Exchange (gain) loss     994,410       (547,795 )     1,012,713       (455,228 )
  Total expenses     8,645,265       8,392,724       15,894,239       15,382,334  
Other                                
  Interest expense and finance costs     (3,176,907 )     (4,743,035 )     (5,938,828 )     (4,688,865 )
  Interest income     485       40,318       75,814       98,912  
  Gain on conversion option     1,081,107       8,800,274       6,743,509       8,800,274  
  Other income (expense)     (10,883 )     18,154       13,068       29,633  
Loss before income taxes     (9,501,334 )     (3,279,938 )     (12,587,016 )     (8,354,369 )
Income tax recovery (expense)     -       26,514       115,155       (115,732 )
                                 
Net loss   $ (9,501,334 )   $ (3,253,424 )   $ (12,471,861 )   $ (8,470,101 )
                                 
Other comprehensive income (loss):                                
Items that may be reclassified to profit and loss:                                
Unrealized gain on available for sale investments     -       87,202       -       108,262  
Translation adjustment     29,650       (64,423 )     (2,064,080 )     (93,786 )
Other comprehensive income (loss)     29,650       22,779       (2,064,080 )     14,476  
                                 
Total comprehensive loss     (9,471,684 )     (3,230,645 )     (14,535,941 )     (8,455,625 )
                                 
Basic and fully diluted loss per share     (0.023 )     (0.008 )     (0.030 )     (0.021 )
                                 
Weighted average number of shares outstanding     418,738,174       416,458,119       418,738,174       413,763,804  
                                 
                                 
   
   
GREAT WESTERN MINERALS GROUP LTD.  
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOW  
(Unaudited)  
($in CAD)  
             
    For the six months ended  
    June 30,  
    2013     2012  
Cash provided by (used in)                
Operating activities                
Net loss for the period   $ (12,471,861 )   $ (8,470,101 )
Adjustment for:                
  Depreciation and amortization     788,245       487,820  
  Stock based compensation     571,255       1,916,966  
  Finance costs     5,863,014       4,589,953  
  Impairment of inventory     107,887       -  
  Impairment of property, plant and equipment     153,487       -  
  Gain on conversion option     (6,743,509 )     (8,800,274 )
Income tax (recovery) expense     (115,155 )     115,732  
Income tax paid     -       (262,756 )
Other operating items     (2,797,140 )     (2,307,931 )
      (14,643,777 )     (12,730,591 )
Investing activities                
Property, plant and equipment     (4,865,015 )     (7,170,188 )
Interest received     69,810       98,912  
      (4,795,205 )     (7,071,276 )
Financing activities                
Issuance of share capital, net of issuance costs     -       471,610  
Issuance of convertible bonds, net of issue costs     -       83,405,896  
Interest paid     (3,663,434 )     (1,913 )
Net change in amounts in escrow     3,659,040       (10,995,479 )
Net change in short-term borrowings     (497,705 )     -  
      (502,099 )     72,880,114  
                 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents during the period     (19,941,081 )     53,078,247  
                 
Exchange rate changes on foreign currency cash balances     1,897,814       1,713,945  
                 
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period     52,095,448       10,930,208  
                 
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period   $ 34,052,181     $ 65,722,400