Westwater Resources and Alabama Graphite Products Open Kellyton Processing Plant

KELLYTON, Alabama–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Congressman Mike Rogers, and many other government officials and business leaders joined Westwater Resources, Inc. (NYSE American: WWR) and its subsidiary Alabama Graphite Products, LLC (collectively the “Company”) to break ground today on 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 dividends 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.”

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.

For more information on Alabama Graphite products, go online to www.alabamagraphiteproducts.com.

About Westwater Resources Inc.

Westwater Resources, Inc. (NYSE American: WWR) is focused on developing battery-grade natural graphite products. The Company’s principal project is the Kellyton Graphite Processing Plant which is under construction in east central Alabama. Additionally, the Company’s Coosa Graphite Deposit is the most advanced naturally occurring flake graphite deposit in the contiguous United States – and located on 41,900 acres (~17,000 hectares) in Coosa County, Alabama. For more information, visit www.westwaterresources.net.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press 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”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “could”, “planned” and other similar words. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements regarding the construction and operation of the Company’s Kellyton graphite processing facility, the Company’s Coosa graphite deposit, and associated costs and schedules. The Company cautions that certain factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information provided. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the Company’s control; therefore, there can be no assurance that these suggested results will be achieved. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Westwater’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management, as suggested by this forward-looking information: (a) the spot price and long-term contract price of graphite (both flake graphite feedstock and purified graphite products) and vanadium, as well as global graphite and vanadium supply and demand; (b) the effects, extent and timing of the entry of additional competition into the markets in which we operate; (c) the ability to obtain contracts with customers; (d) available sources and transportation of graphite feedstocks; (e) the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction and operation of the Kellyton Graphite Processing Facility; (f) the ability to construct and operate the Kellyton Graphite Processing Plant in accordance with permit and license requirements and tax credit and other incentive requirements; (g) government regulation of the mining and manufacturing industries in the United States; (h) geological, processing, regulatory, legal or other unforeseen problems we may encounter; (i) the results of our exploration activities at the Coosa graphite deposit and the possibility that future exploration results may be materially less promising than the initial exploration results; (j) any discovery of graphite or vanadium at the Coosa Graphite Deposit not being in a sufficiently high concentration to make it economic to extract the metals; (k) our ability to fund growth plans; (l) the potential effects of the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic; (m) pending or new litigation or arbitration; and (n) our ability to maintain and timely receive mining, manufacturing and other permits from regulatory agencies.