CENTENNIAL, Colo., October 31, 2017 – Westwater Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWR) has completed the Phase 1 exploration project at its lithium project in the Columbus Basin in Nevada and reports the following results:
- Three core holes were completed at the 14,200 acre Columbus Basin Project for a total of 3,870 ft. of drilling.
- The maximum drilled depth was 1,680 ft.
- Fluids with high total dissolved solids (TDS) were identified in all three holes.
- In-house laboratory work performed at our Kingsville, Texas facility returned lithium concentrations of up to 43 parts per million (ppm) and boron concentrations of up to 173 ppm.
- Planning is underway for a Phase 2 exploration program at the Columbus Basin Project. Westwater also notes that brines have been discovered near our claims by Caeneus Mineral Ltd. (“Caeneus”) with reported concentrations of up to 95.9 ppm lithium and 1,100 ppm boron at depths of 260-340 feet. As a result of our results and those reported by Caeneus, Westwater has filed a Notice of Intent to drill with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the nearby Nina Claim Block of our Columbus Basin project. Westwater will drill this block as part of the Phase 2 exploration program. Also, as previously reported on August 22, 2017, Westwater has successfully secured all of the remaining water rights in the Columbus Basin from the State of Nevada, making the Columbus Basin’s water “fully allocated” as defined under state law. As a result, Westwater and a gold mining company with facilities in the western part of the basin, effectively controls all water within the Columbus Basin.
Christopher M. Jones, Westwater President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “With the completion of this initial phase of exploration at Columbus Basin, and the discovery of high lithium brines in the Columbus Basin by others, we are planning our Phase 2 program. In addition, we are also in the process of applying for a permit to explore our Sal Rica Project in Utah, where we have reported positive lithium results in a press release dated September 18, 2017.”
Sal Rica Exploration Planning
As previously announced (WWR New Release, Sept. 18, 2017), a brine sampling program at the Sal Rica Project was designed and implemented to infill previous shallow aquifer sampling completed by Mesa Exploration Corp. in 2016. The resultant combination of the new Westwater data and the existing Mesa Exploration data now provide shallow aquifer lithium concentration data on variable 1 to 2-mile centers, depending on site accessibility, across the entirety of the 13,260 acre project area. The map below presents the results of those sampling events in relation to Westwater’s claim block in the basin.
In addition to the recent groundwater sampling event, Westwater has also completed new geophysical interpretations of the Sal Rica Project area. This data is being integrated into a conceptual model of the exploration target, and will guide the ongoing planning of a drilling and hydrogeologic characterization program to further expand and define the shallow, lithium bearing, brine aquifer. So far, this work has outlined a strong lithium brine anomaly that covers an area of over twenty (20) square miles, with lithium values up to 100 ppm, all at shallow depths.
Westwater has commenced the permitting process with the BLM, and the State of Utah, to field an exploration program that optimizes project access and limits environmental disturbance, minimizes cost, and maximizes overall data quality.
Columbus Basin Exploration Drilling
Exploration drilling at Columbus Basin commenced in late July 2017, and was completed in late October 2017. A total of three exploration drill holes were completed by a combination of core and mud rotary drilling methods. Total drill footage for the program was 3,870 ft., with a maximum drilled depth of 1,680 ft. in drill hole CB-004. Sampling included drill core, drill cuttings, groundwater grab samples, and samples of artesian groundwater flow. Groundwater samples were screened in the field for temperature, pH, conductivity, salinity, and TDS. All field work and sampling were overseen by Matt Hartmann, Director – Technical Services for Westwater.
Analysis of Columbus Basin groundwater samples leveraged Westwater’s in-house analytical laboratory in Kingsville, Texas. All groundwater samples were collected in duplicate with one sample immediately shipped to Westwater’s laboratory for quick-turn analysis. The second sample was held in secure storage for potential confirmatory sampling by an independent laboratory. A total of 22 groundwater samples were analyzed, with no samples exceeding the 50 ppm lithium concentration necessary to justify confirmatory independent analysis. The highest lithium concentration measured from samples collected during the exploration program was 43 ppm in drill hole CB-002 in a groundwater inflow grab sample collected at a depth of approximately 50 ft. (sample no. CBB-010). The same sample, CBB-010, had the highest concentration of boron at 173 ppm.
Groundwater analysis at Westwater’s Kingsville, Texas is completed by ICP-OES. Previous multi-element analysis of groundwater by Westwater, and confirmed by independent laboratory, has yielded excellent correlation. All analytical data presented in this new release was generated by the Westwater’s laboratory, and as discussed above, was not confirmed by an independent laboratory.
About Westwater Resources
Westwater Resources (formerly known as Uranium Resources, Inc.) is focused on expanding its energy metals strategy, which includes developing its lithium business while maintaining optionality in the case of a future rising uranium price.
The Company is pursuing lithium exploration and development projects that leverage our broad base of hydrogeological, well field engineering and hydrometallurgical expertise in the Western United States. This effort has expanded and diversified our portfolio of assets for a geopolitically balanced and complementary energy metals business to build shareholder value. Since the second half of 2016, the Company has identified and acquired three high potential lithium brine exploration projects:
- The Columbus Basin Project in western Nevada, near the only producing lithium mine in the United States, and where the Company has executed an initial exploration drilling program with results reported above.
- The Sal Rica Project in northwestern Utah, where Westwater is planning an exploration drill program for Q1 2018 and a water rights application is in queue with the State of Utah.
- The Railroad Valley Project in east-central Nevada, where geophysical studies are being evaluated and a water rights application is in queue with the State of Nevada.
With large battery manufacturing facilities, such as Tesla’s “Gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada, the Company’s three lithium projects are at the epicenter of lithium brine development, production and consumption in the United States.
As well, Westwater Resources controls extensive uranium mineral holdings in New Mexico and Texas, USA and a near term, low operating cost development project in the Republic of Turkey. In addition, Westwater owns the Rosita and Kingsville Dome uranium processing facilities in Texas, both of which are licensed for production.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions and are identified by words such as “expects,” “estimates,” “projects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” and other similar words. All statements addressing events or developments that the Company expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to developments at the Company’s projects, including exploration results, preliminary drill results, sample and data analysis, future exploration costs and results, future demand for and price of uranium and lithium, the use of proceeds from the agreement with Aspire, and the Company’s liquidity, including future capital markets and disposition activities, are forward-looking statements. Because they are forward-looking, they should be evaluated in light of important risk factors and uncertainties. These risk factors and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, (a) estimated or expected net cash used in operations, mineral property expenses, general and administrative expenses, net loss, and cash and working capital positions for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017; (b) the Company’s ability to raise additional capital in the future; (c) spot price and long-term contract price of uranium, lithium and calcium montmorillonite clay; (d) risks associated with our foreign operations; (e) operating conditions at the Company’s projects; (f) government and tribal regulation of the uranium industry, the lithium industry, and the power industry; (g) world-wide uranium and lithium supply and demand, including the supply and demand for lithium-based batteries; (h) maintaining sufficient financial assurance in the form of sufficiently collateralized surety instruments; (i) unanticipated geological, processing, regulatory and legal or other problems the Company may encounter in the jurisdictions where the Company operates, including in Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Republic of Turkey; (j) the ability of the Company to enter into and successfully close acquisitions or other material transactions; (k) the results of the Company’s lithium brine exploration activities at the Columbus Basin, Railroad Valley and Sal Rica Projects; (l) the ability of the Company to negotiate an extension on the Cebolleta lease and (m) other factors which are more fully described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of the Company’s underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those currently anticipated. In addition, undue reliance should not be placed on the Company’s forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, the Company disclaims any obligation to update or publicly announce any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
Competent Person’s Statement
Technical information in this news release is based on data reviewed by Matthew Hartmann, who is Director – Technical Services of Westwater Resources, Inc. Mr. Hartmann is a “Qualified Person” as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101, and a “Competent Person” as defined in the 2012 Edition of the “Australasian Code for Reporting Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves” (JORC Code). He is a Licensed Professional Geologist, and a Registered Member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (No. 4170350RM). Mr. Hartmann has appropriate experience that is relevant to the evaluation of the style and nature of mineral deposits relating to this document. Mr. Hartmann consents to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which they appear.
Westwater Resources Contact:
Christopher M. Jones, President and CEO Jeff Vigil, VP Finance and CFO