October 7, 2021
October 7, 2021 – Vancouver, British Columbia –Graphite One Inc. (GPH: TSX‐V; GPHOF: OTCQX) (“Graphite One” or the “Company”) announces that graphite was added to the new U.S. National Defense Stockpile (NDS) Acquisitions List, one of four new materials added for 2022.
“The inclusion of graphite on the National Defense Stockpile list is another sign of graphite’s growing importance,” said Anthony Huston, CEO of Graphite One. “Coupled with the importance of graphite to three of the four key supply chains recognized by the June 2021 White House report, it is clear the U.S. Government sees graphite as essential to both national security and the technology economy.”
The NDS, established by the U.S. Congress in 1939, is a raw materials-based stockpile meant to decrease or prevent “dependence upon foreign and single points of supply for strategic and critical materials needed in times of national emergency”.
The last publicly released National Defense Stockpile Requirements Report included “natural flake graphite” on its watch list of “shortfall materials” based on modeling against specific conflict scenarios indicating a projected graphite shortfall of more than 82,000 metric tons. The U.S. has been 100% import-dependent for graphite since 1990 with the vast majority of supply being reliant on graphite production from China.
The United States Government’s Interim National Security Guidance issued March 4, 2021 states as one of the U.S.’s National Security Priorities that the United States:
“…[W]ill invest in critical stockpiles and ensure that supply chains for pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other critical materials required during a crisis are not overly reliant on overseas networks prone to disruption.”
The White House supply chain report of June 2021 identified three technology sectors — advanced semiconductors, “high-capacity batteries, including Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries”, and pharmaceuticals — as well as “critical minerals and other… strategic materials” as a fourth supply chain, essential to technology manufacturing and the Defense Industrial Base. In addition to being a U.S. Government-listed Critical Mineral, graphite is an essential material for both the renewable and EV Battery sectors, and for advanced semiconductor manufacturing.
Graphite is also one of only four USG-listed Critical Minerals (2018) essential to all six industrial sectors screened by the USGS, for which the U.S. is both 100% import-dependent, while China is the world’s leading producer.
The U.S. Government Executive Branch action parallels rising interest in the U.S. Congress on critical minerals including graphite. The bipartisan infrastructure package (“BIF”), which has passed the Senate and is waiting for a vote in the House of Representatives, has a number of items of interest to Graphite One, including provisions for various pilots, demonstration and research projects related to the supply of critical minerals.
In particular, the legislation calls for a new program to be created at the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that the United States has a viable battery materials processing industry to supply the North American battery supply chain, including enhancing the domestic processing capacity of minerals necessary for battery materials and advanced batteries. If passed by the House, projects to mine and develop critical minerals in Alaska, such as graphite used in lithium-ion batteries, will be eligible for federal loan guarantees to help secure funding, while $6B would be available for battery processing and manufacturing, including grants for processing facilities, which would help firms looking to produce and refine battery materials such as graphite and rare earth elements in Alaska.