Graphite purchase agreement allows planned startup of processing plant years earlier than possible with internally mined material
CENTENNIAL, Colo., September 19, 2019 – Westwater Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, announced today that it has entered into a long-term purchase agreement to procure high-purity, natural flake graphite concentrate for its planned Advanced Battery Materials Processing Facility (“Coosa Graphite Processing Facility”) at the Coosa Graphite Project (“Coosa Project”) in Alabama.
Over the past year, Westwater Resources has tested graphite concentrate products from a number of potential suppliers in order to identify a source with superior quality that closely resembles Westwater’s own graphite available from the Coosa Deposit. As a result of rigorous testing, Westwater Resources has now chosen to contract with an internationally known company that utilizes environmentally sound mining practices and that has demonstrated a reliable and long-term source of high-quality natural flake graphite concentrate.
Westwater plans to construct the Coosa Graphite Processing Facility to produce three advanced battery graphite products that have been developed and demonstrated in laboratory scale processes over the past several years, purified micronized graphite (ULTRA-PMGTM), delaminated expanded graphite (ULTRA-DEXDGTM) and coated spherical purified graphite (ULTRA-CSPGTM). The planned Coosa Graphite Processing Facility is scheduled to achieve initial production in 2022 and production of graphite feedstock from our Coosa Graphite Mine is expected to commence in 2028. Until the mine is permitted, Westwater will utilize the graphite purchase agreement as a source of graphite concentrate for its Coosa Graphite Processing Facility. Under the new agreement, Westwater has the option to transition to material from its Coosa Graphite Mine while retaining the option to expand the purchase agreement to accommodate planned processing capacity expansion. With this flexibility, Westwater will be able to tailor its products and their availability to the specific needs of its customers.
Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Westwater now has the ability to source graphite for its Coosa Project without waiting for the Coosa Graphite Mine to be permitted. This purchase agreement allows us to purchase high-quality feedstock at market rates and advance cash flow from our planned advanced battery materials manufacturing plant to 2022. Since acquiring Alabama Graphite in 2018, Westwater has been working continually to bring the Coosa Project to production as quickly as possible. This is yet another important milestone achieved in advancing this project forward.”
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 two 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 the planned startup of and production from the Coosa Graphite Processing Facility and any future production of graphite feedstock from the Coosa Graphite Mine, 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 Corp.’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 and Sal Rica projects, and the possibility that future exploration results may be materially less promising than initial exploration results; (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. The results of the initial optimization study are preliminary in nature and subject to revision following WWR’s further analysis of the Coosa Graphite Project.
Westwater Resources Contact:
Investor Relations Contact:
Christopher M. Jones, President & CEO
Jeff Vigil, VP Finance & CFO
Michael Porter, Porter, LeVay and Rose