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Unearthing a South African resource with geopolitical implications

The minerals are vital for missiles and smart phones, and China has a lock on them.

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The entrance gate to Steenkampskraal mine, located in a remote corner of South Africa's Western Cape province. The mine was abandoned in 1963 and is now being turned into a rare earths mine.

Erin Conway-Smith/For the Globe and Mail/erin conway-smith/The Globe and Mail

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Vincent Mora (L), project director at Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa, is working around the clock to try and get the mine up and running as soon as possible. He is working closely with Robbie Louw (R), former managing director of Rareco and now a consultant to Great Western. They are standing next to a ventilation shaft, and behind them are the ruins of the old mine, including worker hostels.

Erin Conway-Smith/For the Globe and Mail/erin conway-smith/The Globe and Mail

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The ruins of an old hostel for workers at Steenkampskraal mine, located in a remote corner of South Africa's Western Cape province. The mine was abandoned in 1963 and is now being turned into a rare earths mine.

Erin Conway-Smith/For the Globe and Mail/erin conway-smith/The Globe and Mail

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Great Western Minerals Group Ltd./Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

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Vincent Mora (L), project director at Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa, is working around the clock to try and get the mine up and running as soon as possible. The mine was abandoned in 1963 and is now being turned into a rare earths mine. He is working closely with Robbie Louw (R), former managing director of Rareco and now a consultant to Great Western. They are standing in front of the old mine shaft.

Erin Conway-Smith/For The Globe and Mail/erin conway-smith/The Globe and Mail

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The mine shaft at Steenkampskraal mine, located in a remote corner of South Africa's Western Cape province.

Erin Conway-Smith/For the Globe and Mail/erin conway-smith/The Globe and Mail

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Great Western Minerals Group Ltd./Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

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