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Vol. 22, No. 21 Week of May 21, 2017
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

Mining News: AIDEA finds potential sites for Alaska-based graphite refinery

Graphite One Resources Inc. May 17 said that it has received a report from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority that assess potential locations for a facility to refine graphite from its Graphite Creek deposit in western Alaska into advanced-materials such as coated spherical graphite used as an anode in lithium-ion batteries. In its report, AIDEA identified Homer, Kenai, Port Mackenzie and Seward as potential Alaska-based sites for the graphite refinery. The report comes on the heels of a memorandum of understanding between AIDEA and Graphite One to explore opportunities to collaborate on the development of the Graphite One project. "Tapping AIDEA's expertise in helping us assess potential refinery sites is the first step towards making Alaska a key player in the clean-tech energy sector," said Graphite One CEO Anthony Huston. "The AIDEA report confirms the considerable interest Alaska localities have in serving as a base for our advanced-material spherical graphite refinery." Homer, Kenai, Port Mackenzie and Seward are all Southcentral Alaska locations with year-round ports with barge landings, docks, and container handling capacity. From these ports, refined graphite could be delivered to the Lower 48 states, generally via the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. These potential sites also "have the capacity in-place to meet the refinery's power needs,” according to AIDEA. As for power costs, the AIDEA report notes that "while Alaska can't directly compete on power generation costs, there are potential accumulated benefits to the location criteria that will help balance the overall capital and operating costs of the project." Each potential site offers available industrial zoned land for the project. A number of property, sales, and other special taxes on commercial and industrial activities within the municipal areas of the four locations, however, must be taken into consideration when evaluating the costs of operating a graphite refinery at each. Graphite is a critical material for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage systems. The U.S. is presently 100 percent import-reliant for graphite, a critical ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and other electronic devices.

–SHANE LASLEY



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