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Great Western Minerals Unveils Q4, FY Results, 2011 Revenues Rise

Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF) announced late Monday fourth quarter and full year results, narrowing losses and increasing revenues.

For the year that ended December 31, 2011, the integrated rare earths company posted revenues of $16.44 million, compared to $15.14 million for the previous year.

The company combines upstream resource exploration and extraction at its Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa with downstream metals processing facilities in the US and UK. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries.

"GWMG experienced continued success in revenue and margin growth during 2011," said president and CEO Jim Engdahl.

"The strong track record of our alloy manufacturing operations, particularly with the new strip cast furnace about to go into production at LCM, positions our company to build even further on its strong financial and market position.

"That, in turn, provides a very solid base with which to move our company's top priority, the Steenkampskraal project, to the finish line."

The program at Steenkampskraal is central to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for the company's downstream processing. The company intends to be one of the first to produce significant quantities of the more valuable heavy rare earth oxides, which are important materials for alloys.

The rare earth company, which eventually plans to be its own supplier as well as creating a supply certainty for global customers, has several operational targets this year, including the refurbishment of the mine shaft at Steenkampskraal in the first half of this year, and the completion of the NI 43 101 report for the mine by mid-May.

Great Western is on track for both these targets, as well as for the launch of mining activities by the end of 2012, and the construction of a mixed chloride plant and separation plant near Steenkampsraal in the first half of 2013.

At its LCM processing operation in the UK, the company completed the first pour with its new strip casting furnace at the end of January, and in late March, the company placed an order for a second strip cast furnance, allowing alloy manufacturing capacity to double when the second furnace arrives and is commissioned later this year.

The second strip cast furnace will increase the total production capacity of LCM to approximately 2,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth alloys. The company is boosting capacity in prepartion for its rare earth production coming online, and as demand for the metals grows.

Manufacturing revenues from its processing subsidiaries in the US and UK in 2011 rose nine percent from the previous year, while gross margins from these units' manufacturing operations increased 36 percent.

The company said the two manufacturing units posted earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization of $1.12 million in 2011, compared to $0.86 million the prior year.

Net consolidated loss for the company totaled $14.0 million, or $0.037 per share, versus $15.77 million, or $0.060 per share, in 2010. In the latest fourth quarter, losses narrowed to $3.79 million from $11.42 million in the same period a year earlier.

Great Western ended the year with a cash balance of $10.9 million, up from $9.2 million the previous year. The company also boosted its cash position earlier this month, as it closed a $90 million convertible bond financing with co-lead agents GMP Securities, ISM Capital and Byron Capital Markets, covering its estimated capex to production.