Alaska Delegation Hails $37.5 Million Grant for Graphite One

Project Will Restore Domestic Production of Critical Mineral for First Time in 30+ Years

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska), and Representative Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), today welcomed a $37.5 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) to Graphite One, Inc. for its project near Nome, Alaska. The award, made under the Defense Production Act (DPA) as a result of recent congressional appropriations, will enable Graphite One to advance development of its world-class natural graphite deposit and its plans for a complete U.S.-based supply chain for this critical mineral.

“As the United States and the world transition to an era of dramatically increased mineral use, it is crucial for us to rebuild our domestic supply chains—especially for natural graphite, which we have not produced for more than 30 years and currently depend on China and other nations for the entirety of our supply,”Senator Murkowski said. “The Graphite One project is in a league of its own, in terms of the scope of the resource in the ground in Alaska and the vision the company has for manufacturing anode materials and recycling batteries in Washington state. I congratulate the team at Graphite One, and I thank the Department of Defense for recognizing the immense value of this project. I look forward to the economic and security benefits it will provide in Alaska and across the nation.”   

“It is great news for our state and our country that the Department of Defense has awarded Graphite One funding under Title III of the Defense Production Act, something I have been working on relentlessly since the project’s inception,” said Senator Sullivan. “I want to congratulate Graphite One for the diligent work that went into receiving this award, including the company’s strategy to mine, refine and recycle graphite here in the United States. This award has the potential to open up significant opportunities for our state in terms of producing our abundant reserves of critical minerals and metals. It’s also significant for our country’s national security. We must end America’s dependence on China for critical minerals like graphite, which are necessary for alternative energy sources as well as defense technologies. Alaska should and could be leading the way in unleashing America’s resources. But the rest of the Biden administration needs to get on board. Hardly a day goes by without the Department of Interior further limiting and undermining Alaska’s ability to produce critical natural resources for Alaskans and our nation. This has to stop. Today’s DOD announcement is a step in the right direction.”

"This Department of Defense grant award of $37.5 million under the Defense Production Act is an investment in Alaskan jobs and America's self-sufficiency in the 21st century,” said Representative Peltola. “Critical minerals like graphite will be key for the inventions of the future, from clean energy to advanced defense technologies, and with this funding, Alaskans can build a crucial link in our nation's supply chains. This project will also bring needed jobs and economic development to a rural area of Alaska, with opportunities for hundreds of local hires during construction and operation. I look forward to seeing the completion of the feasibility study for this project, and will continue to support the development of our critical mineral resources." 

"Graphite One is honored to receive this award from the Department of Defense, and we look forward to accelerating our Feasibility Study program immediately. This grant underscores our confidence in our strategy to build a 100% U.S.-based advanced graphite supply chain – from mining to refining to recycling. The U.S. simply cannot maintain a 21st-century tech-driven economy without critical minerals like graphite,” Anthony Huston, Founder and CEO of G1, said. “All of us at Graphite One want to express our thanks for the strong support we’ve received from public officials whose mission it is to advance Alaska’s and America’s best interests. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the thought leader in Congress on critical minerals policy from her position on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee -- and as an early advocate of designating graphite and the other battery materials as Defense Production Act Title III materials; Senator Dan Sullivan, the driving force behind a U.S. Arctic Strategy from his position on the Armed Services Committee with his past service as Alaska’s Director of the Department of Natural Resources; Congresswoman Mary Peltola, member of the Natural Resources Committee and a strong proponent of domestic resource development -- and of course the late Don Young, Dean of the House and a strong supporter of our project.”

The Graphite One project, located roughly 37 miles north of Nome, Alaska, encompasses the Graphite Creek prospect, which the U.S. Geological Survey has determined to be the largest natural graphite deposit in America. Graphite One plans to build a complete domestic supply chain for natural graphite, anchored by the responsible mining of the Graphite Creek deposit and extending to a battery anode manufacturing facility in Washington state, which will be co-located with a battery recycling plant.

Once operational, production from Graphite One will substantially reduce the U.S.’ wholesale dependence on China and other nations for natural graphite. For at least three decades, the U.S. has imported 100 percent of its supply of this critical mineral, which is used for everything from headphones to the advanced rechargeable batteries in smartphones and electric vehicles. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, domestic imports of natural graphite increased by 48 percent in 2021 and by 55 percent in 2022.  

Graphite One’s grant also arrives just as the use of strategic minerals such as graphite is set to skyrocket. By one rough estimate, each additional one million electric vehicles on the road will require about 80,000 tons of graphite. Based on this, Benchmark Minerals has projected that 97 new graphite mines will be needed by 2035 alone, compared to the just over 70 in operation today. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected that global demand for graphite from clean energy technologies could increase 25-fold—by 2,500 percent—by 2040. Just this week, IEA released its Critical Minerals Review 2023, which found that while critical mineral markets are seeing “unprecedented growth,” slow increases in graphite production are “raising concerns about tight supplies in the coming years, particularly for battery-grade products.”

The Alaska delegation has strongly supported the Graphite One project, including its application for this award, over the course of years. Murkowski, a senior appropriator, urged President Biden to invoke Title III of the DPA to address U.S. mineral security last year, which the President did later that same month. Along with Chairman Joe Manchin, D-WV, Murkowski subsequently led the Senate effort to appropriate $500 million for mineral-focused awards under Title III as part of last year’s Ukraine supplemental. She visitedthe Graphite One site just this past weekend and spoke on the Senate floor earlier this week about the importance of the project.

Sullivan led a letter to the Department of Defense, urging DOD to fund a feasibility study to advance the project. He also placed a year-long hold on two top DOD officials in charge of our nation’s defense industrial base, including the domestic supply chain of critical minerals, to get their attention and support for Alaska critical mineral development within the DOD. He has also had numerous meetings with senior Biden administration officials, including with Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R. Pyatt, urging support for the project.

More information about Graphite One is available here.

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