Testing will continue this summer in the Kigluaik Mountains, outside of Teller, at a site considered to be the largest graphite deposit in the country. The CEO of Graphite One, formally referred to as Graphite One Resources, wants the company to become the main supplier to the U.S. of coated spherical graphite (CSG) through the proposed Graphite Creek mining project.
“If the U.S. wants to be a leader in 21st century energy development, it can’t happen without graphite.”
Anthony Huston has been the CEO of Graphite One for the past seven years. In the company’s more recent history, it has secured a loan with Taiga Mining Company worth $500,000 over the course of five years, released preliminary drilling results from 2018, and received some good news from a recent report from the Dept. of Defense (DOD).
“Graphite is very critical, literally, and that’s why when the U.S. government established a critical minerals list last year, graphite was on that list of metals and minerals identified as essential to the national economy and national security.”
Graphite was named a critical mineral under Department of Defense report, for security purposes. “The report’s recommendation of direct investment in companies developing domestic sources of strategic and critical materials is a welcome sign,” he noted.
According to the DOD report, the United States currently imports all of its graphite, so Huston believes the need in this country for lithium batteries, which are made with graphite, will exponentially increase by 2030. That’s where the Graphite Creek mining project, about 40 miles north of Nome, comes in.
“Listen, we’ve all been blessed with a piece of property that has the potential to actually be part of the entire United States supply chain for lithium ion batteries, instead of relying on China, where, right now, 65% of the world’s graphite comes from.”
So far, Huston says only 20% of the mine has been explored, but the field program results from this past year are promising. The Canadian entrepreneur expects the drilling test results will be released in the next couple of months.
“We have some average grades from 7-10%, but actually in the last drill program, we reached the highest drill grades we’ve ever hit. So, we are very excited to get back out there this summer and continue with our pre-feasibility over the next 12 months, which is our next major milestone.”
According to the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) from 2017, the mining project at Graphite Creek has a projected value of more than $1 billion, and Huston says two years later, the economic value of the project has not changed.
However, in the past, some residents of Western Alaska have expressed concern over the mine’s potential impacts on the land, which is used for subsistence purposes.
Huston says the company has created a subsistence committee and intends to have more consultation opportunities for all affected people in the region as the project moves forward. He could not release the names of the committee members before the publishing of this story.
Image at top: Core samples taken from Graphite One’s summer 2012 exploration program. Photo: Graphite One Resources.