In 2018, the U.S. Government included graphite in its first-ever list of 35 minerals or “mineral material[s] that [are] essential to the economic and national security of the United States, that [have] a supply chain vulnerable to disruption, and that [serve] an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.”
Subsequent Government publications underscore graphite’s critical importance:
The Interim National Security Guidance issued March 4, 2021 states as one of the United States’ National Security Priorities that the U.S. “…[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.”
Strengthening critical U.S. supply chains is the focus of President Biden’s Executive Order 14017 (February 24, 2021), which identifies 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 essential to all six industrial sectors screened by the USGS, for which the U.S. is 100% import-dependent while China is the world’s leading producer.
Graphite One’s Graphite Creek: A U.S. Government High-Priority Infrastructure Project
In keeping with the critical need for graphite, the company’s Graphite Creek Project was designated a “High-Priority Infrastructure Project (HPIP)” by the U.S. Government’s Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Committee (FPISC) — the culmination of a process that began with the nomination on October 4, 2019 by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy of Graphite One’s project for HPIP status. Graphite Creek was determined to qualify for the high-priority designation under both the ‘manufacturing’ and ‘renewable energy’ sectors – two of the original infrastructure categories when the statute was signed into law in 2015.
With this FPISC determination, Graphite One can elect to list on the Federal Permitting Dashboard should the company choose to do so. The Federal Permitting Dashboard ensures that federal permitting agencies coordinate their project review authorities, resulting in a more efficient process, with more transparency for state agencies and the public. This designation does not remove any of the stringent environmental standards or permitting requirements necessary for the Graphite Creek project and enhances Graphite One’s ongoing commitment to local stakeholders for a transparent and thorough permitting process.
Graphite: A National Defense Stockpile Material
In October 2021, graphite was added to the new U.S. National Defense Stockpile (NDS) Acquisitions List, one of four new materials added for 2022. 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.” This development is consistent with the last publicly-released National Defense Stockpile Requirements Report, which included “natural flake graphite” on its watch list of “shortfall materials” based on modeling against specific conflict scenarios. The Stockpile Report scenario projected a graphite shortfall of more than 82,000 metric tons.
Given its use in renewable energy battery applications, energy storage devices, smart phones, laptops and consumer electronics, as well as in commercial and military drone applications, developing a secure and independent domestic source of graphite — including its processing into advanced forms required for tech manufacturing and advanced weapons platforms — is a national security priority.