Great Western Minerals Group has signed a joint venture agreement with Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Ltd. (GQD) of China for the construction of a rare earth separation plant in Western Cape province, South Africa. GQD has more than 20 years of operating experience processing rare earth oxides and metals in China.
The separation plant will be constructed in close proximity to Great Western’s Steenkampskraal operation, located approximately 350 km north of Cape Town, where a previously operating mine is being refurbished and readied for rare earth mining.
Pursuant to the agreement, a new joint venture company, Great Western GQD Rare Earth Materials Pty. Ltd. will finalize preliminary work already under way on the process design and environmental components of the separation plant and move toward construction of the facility.
The Steenkampskraal mine is held by Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine (Pty) Ltd., a 74%-owned subsidiary of Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. of Stellenbosch, South Africa, which is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Great Western.
The company reports infrastructure at and around the mine site is adequate and includes access to the site by paved and gravel roads. It is also in close proximity to rail and port facilities. Access to power will be provided through the extension of the existing electrical grid to the site. Diesel generators will be used for backup power.