A preliminary economic analysis has found that a graphite mining prospect near Nome — an effort to capitalize on a potential supply crunch from China and a growing appetite for electric vehicles — could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if it’s developed.
“It shows we have an economically viable project,” Doug Smith, executive chair of Graphite One Resources, said in an interview. “And it shows in general what size we would be, and what kind of processing facilities we need. Now the next phase is to refine and optimize that.”
The graphite deposit in the mountains 37 miles north of Nome in Northwest Alaska is considered to be one of the world’s largest. But the Graphite Creek project, as it’s known, would be a relatively small operation for a mine, company officials said from their offices in Canada.
Kyle Moselle, of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, said the Graphite Creek prospect is unusual compared to other graphite mines around the world because of the large size of the graphite flakes.
The permitting process and environmental review, with public input, is yet to come. Overall, the prospect is small. “It’s more like a rock quarry. This is going to be nothing like any of our operating metal mines in Alaska,” he said. “This would be orders of magnitude smaller than the Red Dog Mine.”
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