Drilling affirms high-grade Graphite Creek
2021 results being included in an upgraded resource and PFS North of 60 Mining News – June 10, 2022
Last updated 6/16/2022 at 1:31pm
Graphite One Inc. June 8 reported that its 2021 drilling at Graphite Creek continued to confirm that this deposit, approximately 37 miles north of Nome, Alaska, is the largest and highest-grade graphite resource in the United States.
According to a 2019 calculation, Graphite Creek hosts 10.95 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 7.8% (850,534 metric tons) graphitic carbon, plus 91.89 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 8% (7.34 million metric tons) graphitic carbon.
The 2021 drill program at Graphite Creek included eight holes to upgrade a portion of the inferred resource to the higher confidence measured and indicated categories, plus nine geotechnical holes to support a prefeasibility study that is nearly complete.
Highlights from the resource upgrade drilling include:
• 16.03 meters averaging 6.9% graphitic carbon, 18.75 meters averaging 5.04% graphitic carbon, and 28.5 meters averaging 5.13% graphitic carbon in three separate intervals starting at a depth of 54 meters in hole 21GOC060.
• 29.15 meters averaging 5.83% graphitic carbon from a depth of 51 meters in hole21GOC061.
• 42.4 meters averaging 11.61% graphitic carbon from a depth of 45 meters in hole 21GC062.
• 53.95 meters averaging 5.67% graphitic carbon from a depth of 77.3 meters in hole 21GC064.
• 24.99 meters averaging 5.56% graphitic carbon from a depth of 57.73 meters in hole 21GOC68.
"Our 2021 drill results continue to demonstrate excellent continuity with our past exploration programs and should provide the opportunity to increase the resource and reserve estimates for the PFS," said Graphite One Resources CEO Anthony Huston.
The company will be incorporating these drill results in its upcoming PFS, which is expected to be filed before the end of July. This study will include an updated mineral resource, the first reserve estimate for the deposit, and provide new economic guidance on developing a mine at the project.
"The PFS will include the results from our 2021 program and should increase confidence that Graphite Creek is a generational asset – a vital graphite resource in the United States," said Huston.
This project has the potential to provide a critical domestic supply of the graphite needed for the lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and storing renewable energy.
S&P Global Platts' forecast that by 2030 it will take 5 million to 6 million metric tons of graphite to meet global demand for this critical carbon material.
This is compared to the 1 million metric tons that were mined globally during 2021, according to "Mineral Commodity Summaries 2022," an annual report published by USGS.
Currently, there are no domestic graphite mines, and the U.S relies entirely on imports to meet the nation's energy transition needs.
China dominates both the mining of graphite and upgrading this carbon material into the coated spherical graphite that is packed into the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.
According to USGS, the Middle Kingdom accounted for 82% of the world's mined graphite last year and produced nearly 100% of the battery-grade anode material.
Graphite One plans to develop a complete mine-to-batteries supply chain that includes a mine at Graphite Creek and a processing facility expected to be located in Washington that will upgrade concentrates produced at the western Alaska operation to the spherical coated graphite needed for lithium-ion batteries and other advanced graphite materials.
The economic and other details of Graphite One's plans will be included in a PFS that is anticipated to be completed in the coming week. The findings of this study will help guide the 2022 field program that will support a feasibility study that is expected to get underway later this year.