Graphite One aims to become the first vertically integrated domestic producer to serve the nascent US electric vehicle battery market.
The company in April, 2022 announced an MOU with Sunrise New Energy Material Company., a China-based lithium-ion battery anode producer.
The intent is to develop an agreement to share expertise and technology for the design, construction and operation of Graphite One’s proposed US-based graphite material manufacturing facility in Washington State — the second link in Graphite One’s planned US supply chain solution for advanced graphite products.
The first link is G1’s Graphite Creek Mine it is developing in Alaska.
Located on the Seward Peninsula, Graphite Creek in early 2021 was given High-Priority Infrastructure Project (HPIP) status by the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Committee (FPISC). The HPIP designation allows Graphite One to list on the US government’s Federal Permitting Dashboard, which ensures that the various federal permitting agencies coordinate their reviews of projects as a means of streamlining the approval process.
In other words, having HPIP means that Graphite Creek will, imo, be fast-tracked to production. The US Geological Survey has cited Graphite Creek as the country’s largest known graphite deposit.
Last summer Graphite One underwent a major de-risking event with the release of the prefeasibility study (PFS) for its Graphite One Project. 2021 drilling has successfully upgraded the 2019 resource estimate, delivering nearly a 200% increase in measured and indicated resources.
The PFS also portrays the Graphite One Project as highly profitable, with expected costs of $3,590 per tonne measured against an average graphite product price of $7,301 per tonne.
The mine would produce, on average, 51,813 tonnes per year (tpy) of graphite concentrate for its projected 23-year mine life. The company itself would produce about 75,000 tpy of products, of which 49,600 tpy would be anode materials, 7,400 tpy purified graphite products, and 18,000 tpy unpurified graphite products.
The prefeas is based on exploration of only one square kilometer of the 16-km deposit, meaning GPH could easily crank up production by a factor several times the current (proposed) run rate of 2,860 tonnes per day. Drill results to date indicate the resource remains open down dip and along strike to the east and west.
Scale is important to Graphite One’s future customers; they will not want a fragmented supply chain for their Lithium-ion Battery anodes, purified graphite products and unpurified graphite products.
The third link in Graphite One’s US-based graphite supply chain involves battery materials recycler Lab 4 Inc. of Nova Scotia, Canada. Under an earlier MOU, GPH and Lab 4 will collaboratively design and build a recycling facility for end-of-life EV and lithium-ion batteries. Lab 4 provides laboratory and engineering support to mining companies with a focus on recycling graphite, manganese and other minerals.
The recycling facility will be located next to the Washington State manufacturing facility, and engineered to accept used EV batteries for feedstock.
Last year Sunrise started preparing anode materials for sample purposes from Graphite Creek concentrate, and in December 2022, Graphite One announced that concentrate is being used to prepare sample battery anode materials for two major electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, while an artificial graphite anode sample is being prepared for a third EV company. Results are expected this quarter.
This is a crucial milestone for Graphite One in proving, a/ that its graphite end product is of sufficient quality to be battery-grade; and b/ that Graphite One is able to tailor its graphite processing to meet the specific graphite anode needs of its potential future clients.
Now we don’t want to speculate on who those companies are, but the fact that Graphite One describes them as “major EV manufacturers”, narrows the list down to a handful of American car companies; for now we’ll have to use our imagination to guess who they are.
Graphite One has made two more announcements in recent days, the first regarding the testing of graphite from Graphite Creek; and the second, the testing of Graphite Creek material “as a potentially critical mineral-rich carbonaceous feedstock.”
In the first news release, G1 states that the company, through a subsidiary, has entered into a Material Transfer Agreement with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), managed and operated in Richland, Washington by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Under the MTA, PNNL will test anode active and other materials to verify conformity to electric vehicle battery specifications. The first materials to be tested will be the anode-active materials now being produced as samples by Sunrise, using Graphite Creek graphite. These samples will be sent to American electric vehicle manufacturers for evaluation as a possible source of battery materials.
(Recall that Graphite One and Sunrise are already working together, on the proposed graphite manufacturing facility in Washington State.)
“We are delighted to work with one of the U.S. Government’s premier national labs,” said Anthony Huston, President and CEO of Graphite One, in the Jan. 20 news release. “Given PNNL’s experience in developing renewable energy solutions, and the importance of graphite to the major renewable energy applications as well as the energy storage systems required for the national grid, Graphite One sees this as a major step in our supply chain strategy.”
The second news release details Graphite One’s arrangement with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company’s subsidiary Graphite One (Alaska) has provided material from the Graphite Creek deposit to Sandia, as part of Sandia’s green extraction processing work.
National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, a subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
In 2021, Sandia’s patent-pending process was awarded a prestigious R&D 100 Award, “GOLD Special Recognition in Green Technology for Environmentally Benign Extraction of Critical Metals Using Supercritical CO2-Based Solvent”. Sandia’s method uses supercritical CO2 in combination with a food-grade additive to extract rare earths and other critical minerals. Sandia will test Graphite Creek material as a potentially critical mineral-rich carbonaceous feedstock.
“We are pleased that Sandia will apply its path-breaking process to Graphite Creek material,” CEO Huston said in the Jan. 25 news release. “We are excited about the potential for value-added applications which identify flake graphite from Graphite Creek as a unique resource, and Sandia’s process will provide us important data on that potential with implications for how we unlock the value of G1’s additional critical minerals.”
Graphite concentrate is already being used to prepare sample battery anode materials for two major EV manufacturers, through Graphite One’s manufacturing partner, Sunrise New Energy Material Company. Sunrise is also preparing an artificial graphite anode sample for a third EV company. G1 says the results are expected this quarter.
If these sample batches are successful, it will surely push Graphite One onto the radar of not only major EV and battery manufacturing companies, but major mining companies.
We also have Graphite One signing a Materials Transfer Agreement with PNNL, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State, that will test the company’s anode-active and other materials to verify conformity to EV battery specs.
Then there’s Graphite One’s arrangement with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Graphite One subsidiary has provided Graphite Creek material to Sandia, for testing as a potentially critical mineral-rich carbonaceous feedstock, using its award-winning green extraction technology.
Both labs operate under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy.
EV manufacturers and PNNL are testing G1’s sample battery anode materials. Sandia National Laboratories will be testing Graphite Creek material as a potentially critical mineral-rich carbonaceous feedstock. The results could mean exciting times ahead for Graphite One shareholders.
Graphite One Inc.
Shares Outstanding 83.3m
Market cap Cdn$116.4m
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