CENTENNIAL, Colo., August 8, 2019 – Westwater Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, announced today that testing of its ULTRA-PMGTM (purified micronized graphite) product by a major battery manufacturer has resulted in a request for a bulk sample of one metric tonne for further qualification testing. While our Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents Westwater from disclosing the manufacturer’s name, we are able to say that this advancement is a major milestone in our battery graphite development.
Produced from natural crystalline flake graphite, our ULTRA-PMGTM is used as an additive to increase the conductivity of cathodes in several types of batteries including primary lithium, alkaline and lead-acid batteries. The ULTRA-PMGTM is designed to enhance the performance of these types of batteries which can give the manufacturers a competitive advantage.
Product qualification testing by battery manufacturers is typically a staged program, with each test dependent upon the success of the last. Laboratory-scale samples (a few grams in size) are tested for performance, and once successful, samples of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) in size are tested. As these tests are successful, manufacturers then ask for a bulk sample of material, commonly in the one metric tonne (2,204 pounds) size range. Since 2016 we have been providing samples to potential customers of our graphite products for testing. Some of these tests are still underway and we celebrate this milestone test result and material request.
Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our team has successfully produced high-performing graphite for battery manufacturers and now can celebrate meeting this major milestone. This manufacturer has requested that we provide a one metric tonne sample at Westwater’s earliest opportunity. This request, coupled with our product development with other companies promises a bright future for Westwater as energy storage becomes the critical enabling technology for renewable energy and electric transportation development and implementation.”
The request by this important potential customer of a large scale sample is a significant step forward in our Company’s ongoing efforts to become a premier supplier of very high-quality battery-grade graphite materials. Further, it is a strong indication of the high quality of the graphite products that we have developed to meet the requirements of the worldwide battery manufacturing industry, and it further positions Westwater to meet its objective of becoming a reliable producer and supplier of battery grade graphite materials.
Our Company’s next step is to construct and operate a pilot plant. Westwater intends to produce our full suite of products from the pilot, including our ULTRA-PMGTM, ULTRA-DEXDGTM and ULTRA-CSPGTM battery graphite materials. This pilot will serve two critical purposes in the development of our project.
- We will be able to test and optimize the design of production line equipment to inform the final engineering of the full-scale production facility.
- We will be able to produce products in much higher quantities in order to supply test materials for the next phase of product qualification. This will further enhance our base of potential customers as we move closer to full scale production.
About Westwater Resources
WWR 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 Mine located across 41,900 acres (~17,000 hectares) in east-central Alabama. In addition, the Company maintains lithium mineral properties in 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 WWR expects or anticipates will occur in the future, including but not limited to statements relating to production of the requested bulk sample, future performance and sales of battery graphite materials, and the construction and operation of a pilot plant for battery graphite materials 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, vanadium 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, the lithium industry, the vanadium industry, the uranium industry, and the power industry; (g) world-wide graphite, lithium, vanadium and uranium 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, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada; (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, vanadium 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.
Westwater Resources Contact:
Investor Relations Contact:
Christopher M. Jones, President & CEO
Jeff Vigil, VP Finance & CFO
Michael Porter, Porter, LeVay and Rose