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Pilot Program Has Processed 13 Metric Tonnes of Battery Graphite
Feasibility Study Underway with Samuel Engineering
Exploration and Development Drill Program Underway at Coosa Graphite Deposit
Westwater Resources, Inc. (NYSE American: WWR), an explorer and developer of U.S. mineral resources essential for batteries for energy storage, today announced its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.
"As I mentioned in our 2020 year-end earnings release in February, we had an immensely successful 2020, and I am very proud to state the first quarter ended March 31, 2021 has continued this trend," said Chris Jones, CEO of Westwater Resources. "The President signed a declaration naming graphite critical to the safety and security of the United States. We believe this declaration, and the actions expected to follow it, will have a significant positive impact on our ability to develop and build our graphite business."
"The definitive feasibility study for the Coosa Graphite Project processing facility is underway and, when completed at mid-year 2021, will provide detailed specifications and inform the detailed engineering work we need to execute prior to construction," Jones continued. "This design work is expected to be used to start construction of the plant toward the end of 2021. At this time, we have processed over 13 metric tonnes of our battery product material during our pilot program, and the three products we produced can go to potential customers for testing."
"Exploration and development drilling on the Coosa Graphite Deposit began in April 2021," Jones concluded. "We are expanding our knowledge of the graphite deposit with this 10,000-foot program. Assays for both graphite and vanadium, an important alloy material for high strength and tool steels, will be performed and integrated into our geologic model, then used to re-optimize the extraction of the resource and re-estimate the deposit economics. I’m thrilled with the progress we’re making, none of which could have been accomplished without the hard work of our dedicated and innovative management team and drilling contractor.
($ in 000's, Except Per Share)
Net Cash Used in Operations
Product Development Expenses
General and Administrative Expenses*
Net Loss Per Share
Avg. Weighted Shares Outstanding
* General and Administrative Expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2020, includes $417 thousand of expense attributable to discontinued operations.
Net Cash Used in Operations. Net cash used in operating activities was $4.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, as compared with $3.5 million for the same period in 2020. The $1.4 million increase in cash used was primarily due to increased graphite product development expenses, general and administrative expenses, and arbitration costs in 2021 compared to 2020, offset by the elimination of costs from discontinued operations and an increase in cash from working capital items of $0.6 million.
Product Development Expenses. For the three-month period ended March 31, 2021, $1.8 million was spent on product development. Of that, approximately $1.2 million related to the operation of our graphite processing pilot program with the remaining attributable to product testing and other lab work, shipping, travel, and other auxiliary costs associated with the Coosa Graphite Project.
General and Administrative Expenses. For the three months ended March 31, 2021 general and administrative expenses increased by $0.3 million from the respective period in 2020. The difference is primarily due to increased legal and consulting expenses related to the Company’s Coosa Graphite Project.
Arbitration Costs. During the first quarter of 2021, Westwater incurred arbitration related legal and expert consulting costs of $1.5 million. This represents an increase of 114% or $0.8 million in costs associated with the Request for Arbitration against The Republic of Turkey compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Net Loss. Our consolidated net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was $5.4 million, or $0.19 per share, as compared with a consolidated net loss of $3.3 million, or $0.82 per share for the same period in 2020. The $2.1 million increase in our consolidated net loss from the respective prior period was largely the result of an increase in product development costs, general and administrative costs and arbitration costs, offset by the elimination of $1.1 million in costs from discontinued operations.
Cash and Working Capital. On March 31, 2021 the Company’s cash balances were $117.9 million and the Company had working capital of $115.1 million, which represented an increase of $66.8 million from a working capital balance of $48.3 million at December 31, 2020. This increase in working capital was primarily the result of a higher cash balance from the sale of shares of common stock for net proceeds of $72.2 million pursuant to our Controlled Equity OfferingSM Sales Agreement with Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. and our Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park Capital, LLC.
Shares Outstanding. Total shares outstanding are 32,336,315 as of May 12, 2021.
Conference Call & Webcast
The Company will hold a conference call to discuss its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, and the results of business activities during the first quarter, on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT (9:00 AM MDT and 8:00 AM PDT).
During the call, in addition to financial results, management will discuss the company’s progress at its Coosa Graphite Project in Coosa, AL, recent milestones at its pilot plant and the President’s February 24, 2021 Executive Order that seeks to provide for more resilient supply chains to revitalize and rebuild domestic manufacturing capacity.
+1 (800) 319-4610 (US and Canada)
+1 (604) 638-5340 (international)
Conference ID: Westwater Resources Conference Call
+1 (855) 669-9658 (US and Canada)
+1 (412) 317-0088 (international)
Replay access code 6297
Hosting the call will be Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westwater Resources, who will be joined by Jeffrey L. Vigil, Vice President-Finance and Chief Financial Officer, and Dain McCoig, Vice President of Operations. Mr. Jones will present an update on the Company’s business position, including an update on the Coosa Graphite Project and a review of the operations of the pilot program. Mr. Vigil will review the financial results and financial condition of the Company. Mr. McCoig will be available for questions as part of the call.
The conference call presentation will also be available via a live web cast through the Company’s website, www.westwaterresources.net.
About Westwater Resources
Westwater Resources (NYSE American: WWR) is focused on developing battery-grade graphite. The Company’s 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. 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," "scheduled," 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 the commencement of operations at the Company’s proposed pilot program facilities, future production of battery graphite products, future financing activities and financial resources, and activities involving the Coosa Graphite Project and the Coosa Graphite Deposit. 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 operate a pilot program capable of producing battery grade materials in quantities and on schedules consistent with the Coosa Graphite Project business plan; (b) the Company’s ability to raise additional capital in the future including the ability to utilize existing financing facilities; (c) spot price and long-term contract price of graphite and vanadium; (d) risks associated with our operations and the operations of our partners such as Dorfner Anzaplan and Samuel Engineering, including the impact of COVID-19 and its potential impacts to the capital markets; (e) operating conditions at the Company’s projects; (f) government regulation of the graphite industry and the vanadium industry; (g) world-wide graphite and vanadium supply and demand, including the supply and demand for energy storage batteries; (h) 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 but not limited to Alabama and Colorado; (i) any graphite or vanadium discoveries not being in high-enough concentration to make it economic to extract the minerals; (j) currently pending or new litigation or arbitration; and (k) other factors which are more fully described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent 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.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210513005293/en/
Christopher M. Jones, President & CEO
Jeff Vigil, VP Finance & CFO
Porter, LeVay & Rose
Michael Porter, President
Product Sales Contact
Jay Wago, Vice President – Sales and Marketing