“Only when the communities surrounding our efforts feel engaged, heard, respected, informed and understood, can we develop win-win solutions for everyone involved.”
— Anthony Huston, President, CEO + Director, Graphite One
The Property is in close proximity to the Iñupiaq communities of Teller, Mary’s Igloo and Brevig Mission and roughly 37 miles from the City of Nome.
With the help of our community relations manager, Joy Huntington of Uqaqti Consulting, who has a a deep understanding of local social, economic, political and cultural issues, we are working to cultivate long-term relationships with key stakeholders built on mutual respect, trust, and the advancement of shared interests such as environmental stewardship, stable village economies, and maximizing local employment.
Meaningful communication is never a one-way street.
To ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in the project’s planning, exploration and development phases, we engage in two-way communication and ongoing information sharing with the communities surrounding us.
Since then, our team has consistently met with tribal, city and corporate leaders of the local communities of Teller, Mary’s Igloo and Brevig Mission, and has consulted with key leadership, the general public and various community groups in the City of Nome. Regular meetings have also been held with regional organizations and governing bodies such as Kawerak, Inc., Bering Straits Native Corporation, Nome Chamber of Commerce, Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Nome Eskimo Community, and the NACTEC – VOCED training center in Nome.
We strive to provide timely and pertinent information on project status and long-term aspirations and expectations, and seek feedback and input from community leaders. Our open-door policy encourages the communities to initiate communication whenever they feel they need an update or have questions or concerns.
During our ongoing public and local leadership meetings, we continue to address the following key issues with local stakeholders:
- Subsistence resources and traditional way of life
- Environmental protection
- Access options
- Local hiring opportunities
- Training opportunities
- Economic development
- Protecting the culture and identity of rural communities
We understand and value that subsistence is deeply engrained in Iñupiaq culture and society.
In order to provide an additional forum for meaningful two-way communications on subsistence issues, we have assisted the Iñupiaq communities in the creation of a Subsistence Advisory Council (SAC) consisting of community members nominated by the city, tribal government and village corporations.
The purpose of the Council, which features representation from Brevig Mission, Teller, and Mary’s Igloo, is to provide guidance and advise our project team through recommendations on the following issues:
- Helicopter activities and routes during hunting season
- Wildlife interaction
- The company’s subsistence resource database
SAC members conduct regular field visits of the project site on an annual basis (or as needed) and hold regular meetings with company representatives. In light of health concerns associated with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these meetings will likely be held virtually for the foreseeable future.
Our team looks forward to deepening the dialogue with SAC members as work at the Project site moves forward, and will continue to factor the input received on local subsistence resources and practices into Graphite One’s future plans.
We aim to keep our footprint at a minimum while protecting and supporting the Seward Peninsula’s biodiversity.
Much of our ongoing dialogue with local communities is dedicated to environmental stewardship and subsistence resource issues.
To ensure that our Project meets or exceeds all regulatory standards with regards to impacts on the environment, including the fish, plants and game, and air, land and water upon which surrounding Iñupiaq communities depend, environmental baseline studies have been ongoing since 2014.
We believe that our efforts to develop critical minerals can positively impact the communities surrounding our project site.
The Graphite One Project has local history and roots in the region. The Iñupiaq people recognized the value and usefulness of this mineral early in their history, with pieces of graphite found at archeological sites in the Teller area.
Today, we can harness graphite’s value and usefulness to advance shared interests and create local opportunities for community members and businesses.
Local Hiring and Business Support
Graphite One has hired local residents of Teller and Brevig Mission every field season since 2014, providing much-needed year-round high paying jobs to offset the high cost of living in rural Alaska. We are committed to implementing robust training programs to maximize local hire at each project level and in different disciplines, as our Project progresses.
In addition to hiring local individuals, we have contracted with Nome-based and other Alaskan businesses who provide support to the project through the field season. Their expertise and local knowledge has been, and will continue to be invaluable to the Project.
In our effort to give back to the community and support local education/professional training initiatives, Graphite One has provided multi-year donations to the NACTEC regional VOCED training center based in Nome, and the local schools in Brevig Mission and Teller, and have supported local events upon request.