Graphite One advances on U.S. testing agreement

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Graphite One Resources Inc. (TSXV: GPH, GPHOF-OTCQX) shares advanced Friday after the company announced a testing agreement that will utilize graphite from its flagship Graphite Creek project in Alaska.

The company said its Graphite One (Alaska) Inc. unit has struck a material transfer deal with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), managed and operated in Richland, Wash., by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the agreement PNNL will test anode active and other materials to verify conformity to electric vehicle specifications. It said the first materials to be tested will be the anode active materials now being produced as samples by Sunrise New Energy Material Co. Ltd. using graphite from Graphite One’s Graphite Creek property.

These samples will be sent to the American electric vehicle manufacturers for evaluation as a possible source of battery materials. Graphite One and Sunrise previously announced their plan to enter into a technology licensing agreement to share expertise and technology for the design, construction, and operation of the company’s planned advanced graphite materials manufacturing facility in Washington State.

“We are delighted to work with one of the U.S. Government’s premier National Labs,’’ said Graphite One, President and CEO Anthony Huston. “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,’’ he said.

Graphite One shares advanced on the news, rising 1.85% or $0.02 to $1.10. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $2.00 and 93 cents.

U.S. President Joe Biden recently announced that graphite and other critical battery metals are designated as “essential to national defense” under the Defence Production Act (DPA) of 1950.

Graphite and other battery minerals – lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel – joined rare earth materials as the only U.S. government-listed critical minerals eligible for the comprehensive support provided by the DPA.

Graphite is an industrial mineral that has previously been tied to steel production but is gaining investor attention because of surging global demand for graphite used in electrical vehicle batteries, fuel cells, power storage and other emerging next generation applications.

Graphite is the anode material in a lithium-ion battery and is the single largest component by weight. There are no substitutes, and almost all of it comes from China.

Graphite One aims to become a vertically integrated American supplier, capable of mining graphite from its flagship Graphite Creek Property in Alaska, producing concentrates at the mine site and shipping that material to a manufacturing facility, likely at a location in the United States.

Situated in western Alaska, about 50 kilometres north of Nome, Graphite Creek was recently designated a high-priority infrastructure project by the U.S. government, which is aiming to secure U.S. supply chains for critical minerals, including graphite.

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