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White House actions boost Graphite One

North of 60 Mining News - May 17, 2024

From 25% tariffs on graphite imports from China to mining being eligible for $72B in clean energy loans, Alaska project gets good news from DC.

Graphite One Inc. President and CEO Anthony Huston was among a select group of industry leaders in attendance when President Joe Biden rolled out his plan to levy heavy tariffs on a wide range of goods from China, including natural graphite.

"I was honored to represent everyone at Graphite One in the meeting with President Biden," said Huston. "We appreciate his support for the renewable energy transition and G1 is excited to continue pushing forward to create a secure 100% U.S.-based supply chain for natural and synthetic graphite."

As the single largest ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and storing renewable energy, graphite is essential to the clean energy transition.

Analysts forecast that the demand for graphite will top 5 million metric tons per year by 2030. This is more than three times the 1.6 million metric tons mined globally during 2023, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

As the primary anode ingredient, graphite makes up around 28% of all the materials in lithium-ion batteries for EVs and clean energy storage.

There are currently no graphite mines in the U.S., and domestic graphite processing is still in its earliest stages. This makes America's clean energy supply chains heavily reliant on China, which accounted for 77% of all mined graphite and nearly 90% of graphite anode materials produced globally in 2023.

To help make graphite mined and processed in the U.S. competitive with China, President Biden announced plans to increase the tariffs on natural graphite imported from China from 0 to 25% in 2026.

The import levies on graphite are one component of a larger package of tariffs aimed at shielding American businesses from China's unfair trade practices.

"To encourage China to eliminate its unfair trade practices regarding technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, the President is directing increases in tariffs across strategic sectors such as steel and aluminum, semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, critical minerals, solar cells, ship-to-shore cranes, and medical products," the White House penned in a statement.

Graphite, battery, EV tariffs

As the White House rolls out its heavy tariffs on China, which also include 25% tariffs on lithium-ion batteries, which will be phased in over the coming two years, and 100% tariffs on EVs beginning this year, Graphite One is advancing its plans to establish an all-American graphite supply chain.

This supply chain would begin with a mine at Graphite Creek, a western Alaska project that hosts the largest known graphite deposit in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world, as well as a processing and recycling plant in Ohio that would produce the advanced graphite material needed for lithium-ion batteries and other products.

Graphite One's strategy is being supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, which awarded the company a US$37.5 million grant last year to complete a feasibility study for its envisioned supply chain plans by the end of this year.

Earlier this year, the company provided an update on the progress made so far on its accelerated plans for establishing a domestic graphite supply chain, as well as the location of its planned processing and recycling facility.

"As we near completion of the FS, we can now say that DoD's support has cut about two years off of our initial feasibility study timeline," said Huston.

DOE Title 17 mining loans

Graphite One Inc.

Core from drilling at Graphite Creek, which hosts the largest known graphite deposit in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world.

Graphite One's plans to develop a mine at Graphite Creek got another boost with the recent announcement that domestic mining projects that would produce graphite, lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other minerals and metals critical to the energy transition are eligible for U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees.

Under the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, DOE's Loan Programs Office can finance clean energy projects in the U.S. While this includes clean energy infrastructure, it did not specify mining projects.

It has now been clarified that "projects that increase the domestically produced supply of critical minerals" needed for the clean energy transition are eligible for the roughly $72 billion of loan guarantees available under Title 17.

"Building on critical material and EV supply chain projects announced to date, LPO is clarifying that it may also fund 'production' or mining and extraction activities as eligible expenses under LPO's Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, which provides financing opportunities for innovative energy and supply chain projects," the DOE Loan Programs Office penned in an April 30 statement.

Access to Title 17 funding would enable Graphite One to keep up its momentum as it seeks to establish a domestic graphite supply chain that helps break America's heavy reliance on China for this mineral critical to the clean energy transition.

During his May 15 visit to the White House, Huston reminded President Biden, "Projects like Graphite One's are important in so many ways – from job creation and the renewable energy transition to technology development and national security."

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Author photo

Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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