Company’s lab-produced battery-grade ULTRA-CSPG™ performs as well as or better than industry benchmarks
Builds on positive results for battery grade ULTRA-PMG™
Westwater Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWR), an explorer and developer of U.S.-based mineral resources essential to the clean energy industry, today announced that independent performance testing of its ULTRA-CSPG™ (Coated Spherical Purified Graphite "CSPG") material produced in a laboratory setting shows that it performs as well or better than benchmark commercially available natural flake and synthetic materials. ULTRA-CSPG™ is Westwater’s anode material which is utilized in lithium ion batteries, which are used in the fast-growing electric vehicle market.
Christopher M. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The positive test results on spherical purified graphite, which follow the positive independent test results on our first lab-produced graphite, ULTRA-PMG™, demonstrates that we are progressing with the commercialization of these American-made battery-grade graphite materials. To this end, plus the addition of new Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jay Wago, an industry veteran with 20 years’ experience in battery materials marketing and development, we are preparing to bring these materials to the marketplace."
Westwater has produced ULTRA-CSPG™ product using laboratory-scale equipment that simulates full-scale production from purification to spheroidization and coating. The Company has been working with Dorfner AnzaPlan in Germany and Polaris Laboratories in the United States ("Polaris") to commercialize processing methodology to produce various sizes of ULTRA-CSPG™ products. ULTRA-CSPG is Westwater’s anode material for use in Lithium Ion batteries. These batteries are used in the fast-growing electric vehicle market.
Initial processing runs comprised of purification, milling and spheroidization produced spherical purified graphite samples with an average particle size of 13.5 micrometers; these samples were then sent to Polaris, an independent laboratory in the USA, for testing to evaluate the product’s performance. Samples were then surface coated and assembled into half-cell coin cells (an industry standard testing method).
Polaris measured electrochemical performance at different continuous discharge rates (C-rates) from 0.1C to 2C. The first 13 cycling lithiation/de-lithiation tests (the incorporation of lithium into an electrode in a lithium-ion battery) achieved 9.6% irreversible capacity loss and 353.5 mAhr/g reversible capacity at 0.1C rate (C/10). After initial cycle tests, 10 cycles of power testing were conducted from C/5 to 2C rates. These power results were similar to the results obtained for industry benchmark graphite materials and, following power tests, 4 cycles at C/10 rates were performed. These tests also showed C/10 capacities slightly higher than the initial reversible capacity, indicating fade is not a significant feature for Westwater’s CSPG.
The coulombic efficiencies (the efficiency with which charge is transferred in a system facilitating an electrochemical reaction) after the first cycle were about 99.9%. During cycling, area specific impedance (ASI) values in ohm-cm2 were recorded. ASI values ranged from 20-40 ohm-cm2, which was slightly better than nominal values for benchmark materials in the 30-50 ohm-cm2 range for the same conditions. Westwater continues to optimize spheroidization processes and cell test conditions (calendar density, electrolyte chemistry, coat loading rate, BET surface area, etc.).
About Westwater Resources
Westwater Resources (NASDAQ: 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. Processing pilot plant operations are scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2020, producing ULTRA-PMG™, ULTRA-DEXDG™ and ULTRA-CSPG™ in quantities that facilitate qualification testing at potential customers. 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 the performance of and market for the Company’s graphite products 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 operations and the operations of our partners such as Dorfner Anzaplan and Polaris Laboratories, including the impact of COVID-19; (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, and government support for domestic uranium production and nuclear power; (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 result; (l) 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.
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Westwater Resources Contact:
Christopher M. Jones, President & CEO
Jeff Vigil, VP Finance & CFO
Investor Relations Contact:
Porter, LeVay & Rose