Great Western Mineral Group (CVE:GWG) announced Thursday it has completed its acquisition of 100% of the shares of Rare Earth Extraction Co (Rareco), the owner of the Steenkampskraal rare earth mine in South Africa.
The transaction, which was accomplished through steady share purchases, began in September 2010, when Great Western completed a $3.0 million private placement to fund its acquisition of 20.8% of Rareco shares.
Since then, the integrated rare earths processor has been purchasing shares in tranches, buying 49.4% of shares in late January, and another 22.4% in early March. Each share was purchased for 3 South Africa Rands, or $0.43 USD.
At the end of May, Great Western held a 93.1% stake in the company, enabling it to initiate the compulsory acquisition provisions of South Africa's Companies Act.
"This final step in the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Rareco further positions [Great Western] to execute its fast track development strategy at the Steenkampskraal Rare Earth project," said Great Western president and CEO, Jim Engdahl.
The Steenkampskraal mine is located about 70 kilometres north of the town of Vanrhynsdorp, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, roughly 350 kilometres north and west of Cape Town.
Great Western has already begun the refurbishment of the previously-producing mine shaft at the project, due to be completed by mid-November.
In April, the company announced that it fast-tracked its development plans for Steenkampskraal, now targeting the start of underground mining operations in the first quarter of 2012.
The company has also nearly doubled the planned level of production at the site to approximately 5,000 tonnes of rare earth oxides (REO) per year, up from the 2,700 tonnes originally anticipated.
Great Western's specialty alloys are used for the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. The company also holds interests in seven rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.