By Shane Lasley
A shortage of the graphite required for the lithium-ion batteries powering the transition to electric mobility is elevating the criticality of Graphite One Inc.’s plans to develop a mine in Alaska and advanced graphite processing and recycling facility in the Pacific Northwest.
“Our strategy is to build a complete graphite anode supply chain – from mine to battery – located in the United States,” said Graphite One CEO Anthony Huston. “And to complete the circular economy for battery materials, G1 is also adding a battery materials recycling facility to feed recovered materials right back into our manufacturing process.”
As the primary ingredient in the anode side of lithium-ion batteries, graphite is the single largest of the mined materials that go into these electric vehicle fuel tanks. A 30 gigawatt-hour lithium battery factory, roughly the size of Tesla’s Gigafactory One in Nevada, requires approximately 33,000 metric tons of flake graphite each year.
The global lithium-ion battery supply chain experts at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence have identified more than 300 gigafactories in operation, being built, or on the drawing board for development around the globe. These battery factories are creating giga-scale demand for graphite.
“The central demand driver for the graphite market is now the electric vehicle. It’s become the largest end market for flake graphite,” said George Miller, senior price analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.