Westwater Files International Arbitration Request Against Republic of Turkey
Westwater Resources, Inc. (“Westwater,” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: WWR), an energy materials development company, today announced the filing of a Request for Arbitration against the Republic of Turkey for its unlawful actions against the Company’s investments, most notably, the illegal taking of its 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: “Over the course of this year, we have attempted to open a dialogue with the Republic of Turkey without substantive result. Our good faith efforts have not been reciprocated by the Turkish government. The time for utilizing the provisions of the US-Turkey bilateral investment treaty and to seek recovery of the Company’s investment in the Temrezli and Şefaatli projects has come.”
Since 2007, Adur has held the exclusive rights for the exploration and development of uranium at Temrezli and Şefaatli. To date, Adur and its shareholders have invested substantially in these two projects, using their 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 2015.
For many years, Adur and Westwater worked closely with the Turkish authorities and shared their technical expertise in uranium mining. However, Turkey's most recent actions have undermined this longstanding relationship. In particular, 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. While the Turkish authorities had variously issued, renewed and overseen these licenses for more than a decade, they now assert that the licenses were issued by mistake and that the Turkish government has a governmental monopoly over all uranium mining activities in Turkey, in violation of Westwater’s rights under Turkish and international law. Westwater has reached out on numerous occasions to the Turkish government to resolve this dispute amicably, to reinstate the licenses, and to remedy the unlawful actions, but to no avail.