Vancouver-based Graphite One is out to make history by creating the first graphite supply chain in the country, the company says. To accomplish its mission, it's working to mine graphite from Graphite Creek outside of Nome, site of the highest grade and largest known large flake graphite deposit in the United States. Even so, Graphite One doesn't consider itself a "typical" mining company.
"Graphite One isn't really a mining company," explains President and CEO Anthony Huston. "We're a tech company that mines graphite."
The corporation, which Huston founded in 2012, considers mining a means to an end, an endeavor necessary to achieve its goal of creating a US-based graphite supply chain.
A US-based supply chain is vital for two reasons, Huston says. First, a homegrown source of graphite will decrease the country's dependence on foreign sources for the mineral, which is critical in the automobile and energy industries. Second, it will allow the US to become a major player in the lithium-ion battery field, which is necessary to accomplish what Huston calls "the electrification of everything," a key component in the push toward green technology.
And Graphite One is doing all of this from a boutique operation located on the north flank of the Kigluaik Mountains, thirty-seven miles north of Nome and three miles inland from the waters of Windy Cove on the Seward Peninsula.
Going after Graphite
A self-proclaimed tech guy, Huston began exploring the United States' graphite problem after closely following the work of Elon Musk in the 2000s, particularly his work with Tesla. Huston knew lithium-ion batteries were integral to electric vehicles, a major driver of the green technology boom, and that graphite was one of the batteries' primary components.
"There is typically between two and four times the amount of graphite in a lithium battery than there is lithium," he explains.
Despite its continued push toward green technology, the United States is incapable of meeting its own demand for graphite or lithium batteries. Although it routinely makes the list of critical minerals, the US imports 100 percent of its graphite needs from China and other countries, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, which analyzes markets and trends in the battery materials industry. To decrease foreign dependence, US Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced the bipartisan American Minerals Security Act in 2019, which seeks to rebuild the country's domestic mineral supply...