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Graphite One Awarded $37.5M National Defense Grant for Feasibility Study

Jul 19, 2023 | Government, Mining, News

Graphite One

A proposed graphite mine north of Nome has the backing of the Pentagon. The US Department of Defense awarded a $37.5 million grant to mine developer Graphite One.

“Essential to the National Defense”

The Technology Investment Agreement grant goes to the Vancouver-based company’s subsidiary, Graphite One (Alaska), under Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA), funded through the Inflation Reduction Act.

The DPA grant allows Graphite One to accelerate a feasibility study of the Graphite Creek Project. The company notes that the US Geological Survey recently described the project area as the country’s largest known graphite resource, and “among the largest in the world.”

Graphite has been designated under the DPA to be “essential to the national defense,” particularly for the new generation of electrical storage batteries. At present, the United States imports 100 percent of its graphite, while China is the world’s leading producer.

“This Department of Defense grant underscores our confidence in our strategy to build a 100 percent US-based advanced graphite supply chain, from mining to refining to recycling,” says Graphite One founder and CEO Anthony Huston.

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The total amount covered under the Technology Investment Agreement is approximately $75 million, with the company matching the grant amount to fund the accelerated completion of the feasibility study. DPA funding does not affect the permitting process for the Graphite One Project.

“The agreement with Graphite One (Alaska) is in furtherance of the Defense Department’s strategy for minerals and materials related to large-capacity batteries,” says Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy. “This investment to increase domestic capabilities for graphite exemplifies Industrial Base Policy’s commitment to building a resilient industrial base to meet current and future national defense requirements.”

Huston thanked Taylor-Kale and the Biden administration for their support of the grant proposal, and he thanked Alaska’s congressional delegation for their support as well, including the DPA language that created the opportunity for national defense funding. He also thanked Governor Mike Dunleavy for nominating Graphite Creek as a High-Priority Infrastructure Project.

“Alaska is a resource powerhouse in a strategic position globally, with much more to offer than just our beautiful scenery and wildlife,” Dunleavy says. “Because of projects like Graphite One, we’ll continue to lead in producing natural resources like critical minerals and even oil and natural gas.”

Graphite has not been produced domestically since the ‘50s. The mineral was produced from the privately held land claim in the Kigluaik Mountains, 35 miles north of Nome, through the ‘40s.

The Graphite One project plan includes a battery anode manufacturing plant expected to be sited in Washington. The plan includes a recycling facility to reclaim graphite and other battery materials.

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Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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