Supports Goal of Battery-Graphite Purification & Post Processing Plant in next 24 Months
Relationships Enhance Development of Westwater’s Three Graphite Products for Commercial Sales
CENTENNIAL, Colo., September 17 2018 – Westwater Resources, Inc. (“Westwater,” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, is pleased to announce that it has engaged two expert organizations, Metpro Management Inc. and Polaris Laboratories, LLC to propel the development of its battery-ready graphite business. These relationships will assist the company’s plan to begin generating revenues in the 4th quarter of 2020. Additionally, once process testing is completed, Westwater should be able to use a greater selection of graphite feedstocks for its planned products.
Westwater has engaged Metpro Management Inc. (“Metpro”) of Peterborough, Ontario to assist in the development of its graphite purification and concentrate enhancement process. Oliver Peters, President of Metpro, has consulted to over two dozen graphite companies including work with the Coosa Graphite Project’s prior owners. Westwater has engaged Mr. Peters to assist in the development of its graphite-purification pilot study with particular emphasis on process metallurgy.
Westwater has also engaged Polaris Laboratories, LLC (“Polaris”) of Beaverton, Oregon. Polaris provides all manner of electrical conductivity testing, cell design and product development services to the battery industry working closely with material developers and end use OEM’s. WWR has engaged Polaris as an independent lab to perform critical conductivity testing of its Coosa Graphite Project materials as part of its customer prequalification program. These independent third-party tests are an important part of gaining customer acceptance and commercialization of Westwater’s battery graphite products.
“The development of our pilot plant and production facility are critical path tasks for the Coosa Project.” said Christopher Jones, President and CEO of Westwater Resources. “The extensive experience and expertise of Metpro and Polaris are important additions to our technical services base, putting us on plan for production. We have already discussed these relationships with several potential customers, and the response has been more than gratifying - they are as excited as we are.
“Particularly Metpro has a great advantage in that they have already worked at the Coosa property and are very familiar with all aspects of the project. Both Metpro and Polaris are leading experts in graphite materials, with Metpro having extensive purification experience and Polaris focusing on the use of these materials in rechargeable battery electrodes. These capabilities will greatly assist Westwater in our marketing efforts.”
Westwater’s business plan is well served with this additional expertise. Key components of this plan are:
- Development of a battery graphite purification and post-processing pilot plant during 2018 and 2019;
- Securing a source of premium graphite concentrate for plant start up and operations until 2026 when the mine is scheduled to be built;
- Designing and constructing a graphite purification and post-processing facility based on pilot plant results in 2020; and
- Developing three battery graphite products for sale to the growing battery sector:
- Purified Micronized Graphite (ULTRA-PMG) conductivity-enhancement products for the lithium-ion, primary-lithium, lead-acid and alkaline battery markets
- Delaminated Expanded Graphite (ULTRA-DEXDG) premium conductivity-enhancement products for the Li-ion, primary-lithium, lead-acid, and alkaline battery markets
- Coated Spherical Purified Graphite (ULTRA-CSPG) premium anode products for the Li-ion battery market
Westwater Resources is working to develop a domestic, made-in-USA battery-graphite business as its first priority, as well as explore for lithium in the western United States. WWR also holds a portfolio of uranium production and exploration properties in Texas and New Mexico.
About Westwater Resources
WWR is focused on developing energy-related materials. The Company’s battery materials projects include the Coosa Graphite Project, located across 41,900 acres (17,000 ha) in east-central Alabama, and lithium mineral properties in three prospective lithium brine basins in Nevada and Utah. WWR’s uranium projects are located in Texas and New Mexico. In Texas, the Company has two licensed and currently idled uranium processing facilities and approximately 11,000 acres (4,400 ha) of prospective in-situ recovery uranium projects. In New Mexico, the Company controls mineral rights encompassing approximately 188,700 acres (76,394 ha) in the prolific Grants Mineral Belt, which is one of the largest concentrations of sandstone-hosted uranium deposits in the world. Incorporated in 1977 as Uranium Resources, Inc., WWR also owns an extensive uranium information database of historic drill hole logs, assay certificates, maps and technical reports for the Western United States. For more information, visit www.westwaterresources.net.
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 WWR expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to the Company’s growth, developments at the Company’s projects, the future production of graphite, including on a pilot scale, and the expected benefits from Metpro and Polaris, and future sales of graphite, including as a first mover for key components of electrical storage devices, and the Company’s liquidity and cash demands, including future capital markets financing 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) the Company’s ability to successfully integrate Alabama Graphite Corporation’s business into its own, and the risk that additional analysis of the Coosa Graphite Project may result in revisions to the findings of WWR’s initial optimization study; (b) the Company’s ability to raise additional capital in the future; (c) spot price and long-term contract price of graphite, lithium and uranium; (d) risks associated with our domestic operations; (e) operating conditions at the Company’s projects; (f) government and tribal regulation of the graphite industry, lithium industry uranium industry and the power industry; (g) world-wide graphite, 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 or intends to operate, including in Alabama, Nevada, Utah, Texas and New Mexico; (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, and the possibility that future exploration results may be materially less promising than initial exploration result; (I) any graphite, lithium or uranium discoveries not being in high-enough concentration to make it economic to extract the metals; (m) currently pending or new litigation or arbitration; and (n) 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. The results of the initial optimization study are preliminary in nature and subject to revision following WWR’s further analysis of the Coosa project.
Westwater Resources Contact:
Investor Relations Contact:
Christopher M. Jones, President & CEO
Jeff Vigil, VP Finance & CFO
Michael Porter, Porter, LeVay and Rose