Westwater Resources, Alabama Graphite Products Opens Kellyton Processing Plant

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Congressman Mike Rogers and numerous other state and local government officials and business leaders have joined Westwater Resources, Inc. (NYSE American: WWR) and its subsidiary Alabama Graphite Products, LLC (collectively the “Company”) to break ground for the construction of the Company’s graphite processing plant in Kellyton, just outside of Alexander City, Alabama.

The $202 million plant, which is being built in the Lake Martin Regional Industrial Park just off US 280 in Coosa County, will process raw graphite into battery-grade refined graphite for a use in batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), electronics and many other products. When complete, Phase I of the facility is expected to employ at least 100 people at an estimated average hourly wage of over $21 per hour and, when fully operational, is expected to produce 7,500 metric tons of refined graphite every year.

“Building this plant is the result of a lot of hard work, cooperation, planning and vision by many people over many years,” said Chad Potter, President and CEO of Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite. Products. “I want to thank our amazing team, who envisioned and laid the foundation for what is the world’s first-of-its-kind graphite plant, and our state and local partners who made this day possible.”

Refined graphite is used as an anode in lithium-ion batteries found in electric vehicles and other products, as well as a conductivity amplifier for all types of batteries, including lead-acid batteries common in traditional vehicles. The batteries found in an average electric vehicle need about 175 to 200 pounds of graphite. There are currently no producers of natural grade graphite in the United States for these types of products. Currently, refined graphite used in lithium-ion and other batteries is mainly imported from China. As a result, the U.S. government has declared the strategic mineral graphite essential.

Governor Ivey joined many state and local government officials and business leaders who took part in the groundbreaking celebration at the Kellyton site. She said the plant would put Alabama at the top of production of a critical material for electric vehicles and other batteries.

“Alabama, home to Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Mazda, is among the top four states in the nation for auto production,” Governor Ivey said. “This plant will make Alabama an even bigger player in the growing electric vehicle industry. It also creates jobs and will serve as a catalyst for the region’s economic development, which my administration has worked tirelessly over the years to bring to the state. As this new manufacturing facility shows, the fruits of that labor are paying off for the people of Alabama. »

Congressman Rogers praised Alabama Graphite Products for the jobs and economic development it brings to his district. “To have the first graphite processing of its kind in Coosa County is a true honor and I believe an indication of what is to come,” said Congressman Rogers. “This project will stimulate more economic development in the region and more jobs for people here.”

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The plant is being built by Alabama Graphite Products, LLC, a subsidiary of Westwater Resources. Westwater Resources is a Colorado-based company focused on the development of off-the-shelf natural graphite materials for advanced batteries and is committed to exploring and developing materials for clean, sustainable power generation.

The Kellyton plant will use a proprietary process to purify the raw material and refine it to battery-grade graphite. This process is safer, more environmentally friendly and sustainable than the hydrofluoric acid process commonly used in China and elsewhere, which requires more water and produces more environmentally harmful by-products.

“Since our announcement in June of last year that we will be building our state-of-the-art processing plant in Alabama, we have made significant investments toward the operation of our plant,” Potter said. “We purchased and renovated two large existing buildings adjacent to the factory site – one for warehousing and logistics, the other for our laboratory and administrative offices. As our investment of millions of dollars and our commitment to invest even more indicates, we have a strong commitment to Alabama and this community, and we look forward to being here for many years to come.

In addition to the processing plant, the Company plans to continue advanced exploration activities at a graphite deposit in western Coosa County, Alabama’s graphite belt. Westwater Resources acquired mineral rights to approximately 41,900 acres in 2018 and plans to begin mining operations by the end of 2028. Until then, the Kellyton plant will import feed graphite from high-end sources. quality. There are currently no commercial grade graphite mining operations in the United States

Mr. Potter thanked the many state and local officials, agencies, industry recruiters, associations and companies who helped make the project a reality. “The cooperation and assistance we’ve received – from tax incentives to public services to workforce development – ​​has been incredible. We wouldn’t be here today without their support.

In addition to Governor Ivey and Congressman Rogers, other government officials at the inauguration included Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell, State Senator Clyde Chambliss, State Representatives Ben Robbins and Ed Oliver, Coosa County Commissioners. and officials of the city of Alexander. Also in attendance were representatives from the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, Lake Martin Area Industrial Development Authority, Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, Alabama Mining Association, Energy Institute of Alabama, Alabama Power Company and project contractors: Fite Building Company, BL Harbert International, Asimpa, Samuel Engineering and Bailey-Harris Construction Company.

The Kellyton processing plant is expected to be in service by the end of the second quarter of 2023.

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