Native Corp. Invests In Graphite Mining Project


Alaska Beacon

An Alaska Native corporation said Tuesday it is investing in a project that could result in the first graphite production in the United States in decades.

Bering Straits Native Corp., the corporation for the Inupiat and Yup’ik people of the Bering Strait region, will put $2 million into the Graphite One project being explored about 35 miles north of Nome.

The BSNC board last week approved the $2 million investment as part of an agreement that holds an option for another $8 million investment in the future, a corporate statement said. The money is intended to help Vancouver-based Graphite One Inc. complete a feasibility study and pre-development work, the statement said.

The investment agreement approved by BSNC also sets the stage for an advisory board to help share information with area residents and use the corporation’s expertise, the statement said.

“This is not just an investment in Graphite One, it is a long-term investment in our region. We at BSNC have watched for years as Graphite One has worked to advance the Graphite Creek project and become a friendly neighbor in the region,” Dan Graham, BSNC’s interim president, said in the statement. “Graphite One has told us of its intent to develop an environmentally responsible project and provide an exciting economic opportunity for the region that hopefully will play a crucial role in the nation’s transition to a clean energy future. This is at the heart of our Board’s unanimous support of the project.” 

Graphite is considered a critical mineral. Though it is commonly associated with pencils, it is also used in high-temperature lubricants, brushes for electrical motors, friction materials and battery and fuel cells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Currently, none is mined in the U.S. and the biggest source of supply is China, according to the USGS. But the biggest known deposit in the nation is the one on Western Alaska’s Seward Peninsula that Graphite One is trying to commercialize.

The project is seen by the federal government as so promising that the Department of Defense in July awarded a $37.5 million grant to the company to boost its development. The grant is intended to help Graphite One complete its final feasibility study.

Small amounts of graphite were mined at the site in the past, in the early 20th century, but the Graphite One project would be substantially larger. A report issued last year described a project generating over 75,000 metric tons over 26 years. But company officials since then have indicated that for the investment to pencil out might require a bigger mine.

Work continues at the site, Anthony Huston, Graphite One’s president, said by email.

“We just added a fourth drill rig to the site to ensure we get all our planned work completed this year. We have 60 people working on-site and hope to continue working hard for the next five weeks if the weather allows,” he said.


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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

After the season-opening Ketchikan High School swim meet last week, Sitka High swimmer Matt Way is ranked first in the state in the100-meter breaststroke, while Carrington Gorman is ranked second in the 50-meter freestyle.



September 1973

From Around Town: Sitka Historical Society met Sunday at the Centennial Building with the people who had hosted the Historical Room during tour ship visits here. The ladies of the society served a nice Russian Tea from their samovar, and passed around Russian tea cakes.