CENTENNIAL, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Westwater Resources, Inc. (“Westwater,” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, today announced that the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has registered its Request for Arbitration. The registration is the next step in Westwater seeking compensation from the Republic of Turkey. At issue is Turkey’s illegal taking of Westwater’s Temrezli and Şefaatli uranium projects in June 2018. These projects were owned by Westwater’s Turkish subsidiary Adur Madencilik Limited Sirketi (“Adur”).
Christopher M. Jones, President and CEO of Westwater Resources, stated: “This initiates the process of constructing an international tribunal that allows Westwater to bring the full force of law to seek recovery of the Company’s investment in Temrezli and Şefaatli. We are pleased that ICSID has acted quickly to accept our Request for Arbitration.”
To date, Adur and its predecessors have invested substantially in these two projects, using its technical expertise and carrying out extensive drilling, testing and studies to move the projects towards production. Having successfully completed the exploration stage in 2013-2014, Adur was granted a number of operating licenses by the Turkish government to develop the Temrezli mine. As a direct result of Adur’s efforts, Temrezli is the most advanced uranium project in Turkey. Experts have estimated that the mine will generate revenues of up to USD 644 million over its life, netting Westwater a return on its investment of USD 267 million as described in the Prefeasibility Study completed for the Temrezli project in 2014.
In June 2018, the Turkish government cancelled all of Adur's exploration and operating licenses with retroactive effect, rendering Westwater's investment in Adur effectively worthless. Incredibly, the Turkish government sought to justify its actions on the basis that the licenses – which had been variously issued, renewed and overseen by the Turkish government for more than a decade – had been issued by mistake. Turkey now asserts that it has a governmental monopoly over all uranium mining activities in Turkey, in violation of Westwater’s rights under Turkish and international law, including the Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Turkey concerning the Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investments (“Treaty”). Westwater is bringing this claim under the Treaty to enforce its right to full reparation for the damage caused by Turkey's illegal acts.
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 three 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 Request for Arbitration and timing and outcome thereof, 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 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, Railroad Valley, and Sal Rica projects, and the possibility that future exploration results may be materially less promising than initial exploration result; (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.