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Graphite Creek 2024 field program begins

North of 60 Mining News – June 26, 2024

Summer program focused on collecting the final data needed to complete a feasibility for developing a mine at the western Alaska project.

Graphite One Inc. June 26 announced the start of a 2024 exploration program focused on collecting the final data needed to complete a feasibility study for developing a mine at its world-class Graphite Creek project in western Alaska.

"The 2024 field program is a key milestone for our stakeholders as we advance our feasibility study with a scheduled December completion target, under the terms of our Defense Production Act grant from the Department of Defense," said Graphite One President and CEO Anthony Huston.

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Graphite One a grant of up to $37.5 million to pay for half of the costs of an accelerated program to finalize the feasibility study by the end of this year. Earlier this month, Graphite One reported that the grant had been revised so that DOD would cover up to 75% of the costs, though the total grant value remains roughly the same due to the total costs for the feasibility study program expected to be around $50 million instead of the $75 million originally estimated.

"For our shareholders, this means that for every dollar we spend advancing the Graphite Creek accelerated feasibility study, G1 receives 75% of those expenditures in DOD grant funding rather than 50% upon submission," Huston explained.

DOD's investments in Graphite Creek reflect graphite's critical importance to America's economic and national security.

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.

Because there is no graphite currently being mined in the U.S., America's clean energy supply chains are heavily reliant on China, which accounted for 77% of all mined graphite and nearly 90% of graphite anode materials produced globally in 2023.

Adding to the uncertainty of supply, China placed government-controlled restrictions on the exports of graphite at end of 2023.

Graphite Creek, considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be the largest known graphite deposit in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world, offers a potential domestic source of this critical mineral.

Graphite One Inc.

The Graphite Creek camp is serving as headquarters for the geological, engineering, and environmental field work being completed this year at the western Alaska graphite project.

With the support from DOD, Graphite One is rapidly advancing the geological, engineering, environmental, and economic studies needed to complete a feasibility study for a complete domestic graphite supply chain that would include a mine at Graphite Creek and a processing and recycling plant in Ohio.

On the geological front, Graphite One has already outlined more than 14 million metric tons of graphite at Graphite Creek, and this large resource is along a three-mile subsection of a more than 10-mile-trend of graphite that has been traced across the property.

According to a calculation completed early in 2023, Graphite Creek hosts 37.6 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 5.15% (1.9 million metric tons) graphite; plus 243.7 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 5.14% (12.3 million metric tons) graphite.

This does not include the results from a 52-hole drill program completed last year to expand and upgrade the already world-class Graphite Creek deposit.

Given the success of the 2023 drilling, this year's drill program is initially focused on gathering the geotechnical information needed to engineer the mine pit walls, as well as foundations for the process facility, tailings and waste rock storage facility, and other infrastructure.

Alongside the drilling, specialists are carrying out the environmental baseline, archaeological, and engineering field work needed for the feasibility study and future permitting.

Graphite One's senior team is also continuing to engage with local communities and tribal organizations on the 2024 field program and providing a forum for dialogue on a development path that benefits local residents.

The company says that job fairs conducted in the local communities of Teller, Brevig Mission and Nome have resulted in 22 of the 2024 summer positions being filled by residents.

Graphite One says it remains on track to complete a feasibility study for a domestic graphite supply chain that begins at the Graphite Creek project in western Alaska by December.

"As the U.S. Government's US Geological Survey has recognized Graphite Creek as the nation's largest graphite deposit, and 'among the largest in the world,' we are confident that this year's program will further demonstrate the importance of Graphite One's complete supply chain strategy in meeting demand for a material that is critical to the 21st century technology economy and U.S. national security," said Huston.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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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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