Canada-based integrated rare earths processor Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF) announced Tuesday the appointment of Dave Murphy as vice president of international marketing and sales.
Murphy's focus will be the marketing and sales of the full range of rare earth products from all Great Western Minerals' operations including the company's Steenkampskraal operation in South Africa, Steenkampskraal's associated production facilities, as well as its two processing units - Less Common Metals and Great Western Technologies.
"The appointment of Dave Murphy to the position of Vice President, International Marketing and Sales is clearly a case of 'the right person at the right time'," said Great Western's president and CEO, Jim Engdahl.
"Mr. Murphy's extensive experience, over the course of four decades in the rare earth industry, means that as GWMG is positioned to significantly expand its sales and marketing efforts over the entire array of rare earth activities, we are able to appoint someone with extensive industry experience and a very strong track record of success in moving GWMG into a global leadership position."
Indeed, Murphy, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Nottingham University, joins Great Western with over 40 years of experience, having entered the rare earth industry as a process chemist with Johnson Matthey's monazite processing facility in the UK.
He played an instrumental role in the development of metal and alloy production activities at Johnson Matthey, as the applications of rare earths expanded. Murphy eventually progressed through the company from product management to the position of general manager.
After joining Great Western's subsidiary Less Common Metals in 2000 as technical director, he was promoted to the position of commercial director, where he had responsibility for sales, marketing and customer support.
In this position, he interacted with companies that operate upstream and downstream across the full spectrum of the global rare earth industry.
Great Western 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 makes specialty alloys, which are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries.
Its development program at Steenkampskraal is central to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for its 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.
Great Western recently announced its initial NI 43-101 resource estimate for its Steenkampskraal rare earth property in South Africa, which satisfied the release conditions for the remaining funds under its US$90 million convertible bond financing.
The company noted that the NI 43-101 report indicates the presence of 13,823.64 metric tonnes of total rare earth oxides (TREO), including yttrium, under the indicated resource category, and 14,147.76 metric tonnes under the inferred resource category, each using a one per cent cut-off grade.
With the filing of the NI 43-101 report, Great Western satisfied the escrow release condition of the convertible bond financing of US$90 million, and expects the remaining funds, net of US$10.8 million that will remain in escrow to satisfy interest payments, will be released to the company in due course.
In order to satisfy the escrow release condition, the company had to confirm at least 20,000 metric tonnes of TREO, including yttrium, from the measured, indicated and inferred categories using a one per cent cut-off grade.