Tentative signs of economic recovery are apparent around the world. New U.S. housing starts and permits rose in August reaching a nine month high, fewer jobs are being lost and consumer confidence is gradually returning to economies around the world. Base metal prices have also been on the rise in response to rising demand from industrial nations particularly China. Companies have started spending money on capital goods.
Along with improving economies the case for investing in rare earth companies may well be gaining ground again. In fact, Canadian Venture and OTC Bulletin Board listed Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (TSX.V: GWG, OTCBB: GWMGF) announced that its US-based, wholly-owned subsidiary, Great Western Technologies Inc, ("GWTI") won a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a set of aluminium-based high strength alloys.
These alloys are a new class of materials that exploit the complex metal compounds that can be formed between rare earth elements and common metals such as aluminum and nickel. In the right circumstances and under good metallurgical control these alloys will produce miniscule precipitates that impart exceptional properties on aluminum alloys. These materials could eventually be used in applications that require low density and high strength such as fan blades or low pressure compressor blades in jet engines or for low-weight but high-strength automotive components. These applications are significant in improving power-to-weight ratios and therefore improving fuel efficiencies.
In fact it is the fuel efficient cars especially hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, that are expected to underpin the demand for rare earth Elements (particularly Heavy Rare Earth Elements or HREE a hybrid car such as Prius is estimated to contain an aggregate of 30kg of REE, including light rare earths used in the rechargeable battery and the catalytic converter.
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the US Department of Defense. DARPA's mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the US Military and prevent technological surprise from harming national security. DARPA provides funding for researchers in industry, universities, government laboratories and elsewhere to conduct high-risk, high-reward research and development projects that will benefit US national security.
About Great Western Minerals Group Ltd (GWG)
GWG is engaged in the development and exploration of strategic metal resources in North America and South Africa. Pursuing a vertically-integrated business model, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiaries of Less Common Metals Limited located in Birkenhead UK, and Great Western Technologies Inc., located in Troy, Michigan, produce a variety of specialty alloys for use in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. These "designer" alloys include those containing copper, nickel, cobalt and the rare earth elements.