Will Immediately Commence Development of Vanadium Exploration Plan
CENTENNIAL, Colo., February 19, 2019 – Westwater Resources, Inc. (“Westwater,” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, is pleased to announce the receipt of positive analytical results (assays) for vanadium mineralization (as V2O5 - vanadium pentoxide) at our Coosa, Alabama Graphite Project. The recently received assay data was derived from more than 1,900 samples selected from 35 core drill holes and 16 trenches, which were previously sampled and assayed for only graphite as a part of defining the graphite resource in 2015 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) investigation. Sample locations were selected within the Coosa PEA resource area as well as vanadium target areas identified by the 2018 sampling program as presented in our news release of November 29, 2018, in which the Company announced the identification of appreciable levels of vanadium mineralization at Coosa. Positive values for vanadium are widespread and extend considerably beyond the graphite resource defined in the PEA from 2015. This sampling program represents the next stage of exploration of the vanadium mineralization at the Coosa Project.
Four-hundred-forty-one of the 1,923 samples collected for geochemical analysis returned vanadium grades greater than 0.15 percent V2O5 (3 pounds of V2O5 per short ton). Several of the assays exceeded 0.40% V2O5 (8 pounds of V2O5 per short ton). Individual sample intervals ranged from 1.52 feet to 5.0 feet in length each. Numerous continuously mineralized zones (at grades of 0.15% V2O5 or more) have apparent thicknesses in drill holes ranging from 2 feet to 72 feet and apparent widths in trenches ranging up to 50 feet. Limited QEMSCAN and EDX analysis by Actlabs in Ontario, Canada indicated that the vanadium occurs in several mineral phases including roscoelite, low V biotite and low V Fe‐hydroxides. Roscoelite is recognized visually in the field by the presence of some bright green minerals and has been a historical source of vanadium from mines in western Colorado and eastern Utah, as well as other localities from the early 1900s to the early 1980s.
These analytical results demonstrate the wide-spread distribution of vanadium mineralization throughout the central portion of the Company’s mineral holdings within the Coosa Project. Key target areas displaying strong and continuous vanadium mineralization include the PEA graphite resource area, known as the Grid deposit area, the eastern margin of the Grid deposit area, the northeastern extension of the Grid deposit, and a parallel belt of favorable quartz-graphite schist (QGS) and quartz-muscovite-biotite graphite schist (QMBGS) that includes the former Fixico graphite mine, the Roscoe Ridge prospect and the Holy Schist target. Data indicates that zones of strong vanadium mineralization are clearly accompanied by strong graphite mineralization.
The wide-spread distribution of highly anomalous vanadium mineralization, commonly in association with strong graphite mineralization, points to the need for comprehensive follow-up drilling and trenching to more fully define the ultimate distribution and intensity (grade) of the graphite and vanadium resources of the Coosa Project. Planning is underway for additional core drilling and surface trenching of individual target areas and extensions of known mineralized zones. Additionally, Westwater will initiate a program to evaluate and assess various processing options to economically recover vanadium as a byproduct to graphite.
Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are thrilled to have received laboratory verification of the presence of wide-spread vanadium mineralization at our Coosa property, with some positive values beyond the original resource defined in the 2015 PEA. Vanadium is a highly versatile mineral, with a strong demand profile throughout the world – particularly in the steel industry where 80% of the supply is used.
“As is the case with our graphite, lithium and uranium assets, vanadium is also considered one of the critical resources listed by the US Geological Survey. However, there is no significant production of vanadium, or mining operations in the U.S., which is why vanadium is generally imported. Approximately 85% of vanadium production originates in South Africa, China and Russia – with China being the leader at nearly 40% of world-wide production.
“We intend on immediately developing a vanadium exploration program, with the goal of optimizing this high-quality opportunity prudently and to our maximum benefit. We expect to have this plan completed in coming weeks,” concluded Mr. Jones.
Quality Control/Quality Assurance and Analytical Laboratory
Geochemical determinations of the vanadium content of the samples were performed by American Assay Laboratories, of Sparks, Nevada USA, a long-standing, independent, third-party commercial assay laboratory, utilizing a five acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP) as its analytical method. American Assay holds an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Accreditation. Quality control and quality assurance included the inclusion of “blank” samples (barren of vanadium) and duplicate samples into the sample submissions by Westwater personnel. “Control samples”, comprised of geochemical standards, “blanks”, and laboratory duplicates totaling 477 samples were employed by American Assay to ensure QA/QC. Duplicate samples were submitted to an independent third-party laboratory.
About Westwater Resources
Westwater is focused on developing energy-related materials. The Company’s battery-materials projects include the Coosa Graphite Project — the most advanced natural flake graphite project in the contiguous United States — and the associated Coosa Graphite deposit located across 41,900 acres (~17,000 hectares) in east-central Alabama. In addition, the Company maintains lithium mineral properties in three prospective lithium brine basins in Nevada and Utah. Westwater’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 hectares) of prospective in-situ recovery uranium projects. In New Mexico, the Company controls mineral rights encompassing approximately 188,700 acres (~76,000 hectares) 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., Westwater 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 Westwater expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to developments at the Company’s projects, the development of a vanadium exploration program and the future production of vanadium, future sales of vanadium, 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 availability of capital to the Company and the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern; (b) the availability of the Company to continue to satisfy the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market; (c) the spot price and long-term contract price of graphite, vanadium, lithium and uranium; (d) the ability of the Company to enter into and successfully close acquisitions, dispositions or other material transactions; (e) government regulation of the mining industry and the nuclear power industry in the United States; (f) operating conditions at our mining projects; (g) the world-wide supply and demand of graphite, vanadium, lithium and uranium; (h) weather conditions; (i) unanticipated geological, processing, regulatory and legal or other problems the Company may encounter; (j) the results of the Company’s exploration activities, and the possibility that future exploration results may be materially less promising than initial exploration result; (k) any graphite, vanadium, lithium or uranium discoveries not being in high enough concentration to make it economic to extract the metals; (l) currently pending or new litigation or arbitration; (m) the Company’s ability to maintain and timely receive mining and other permits from regulatory agencies; 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