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BSNC invests $2 million to Graphite Creek drilling project

A Canadian-based mineral exploration company is one step closer to developing the Graphite Creek Deposit – that USGS said could be the nation’s largest graphite deposit. That’s thanks-in-part to a 2 million dollar investment by Bering Straits Native Corporation. Even though the project is in the preliminary stages, Bering Straits said they are prepared to invest more. 

The BSNC Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion supporting the Graphite Creek Deposit-  over three miles long just 37 miles north of Nome in the Kigluaik Mountains. That’s according to a statement from Graphite One released earlier this month (September 5).

The project is speculated to yield 10.95 million tonnes of graphite material. That’s the equivalent to over 164 thousand Boeing 737 airplanes.

BSNC said they could invest over $8 (8.4) million into the development of the Graphite Creek Project in the future, bringing the total investment to over $10 (10.4) million. Daniel Graham is the Interim President and CEO of BSNC. He says the Board is confident about the economic growth Graphite One will bring into the region, as a pre-feasibility study has shown a 24 – year life span for the mine.

While it’s hard to quantify at this period in time in their project, we have been told by the leadership of Graphite One that they’re very committed to growth in our region and of our people.”

BSNC Board Chair Cindy Massie said in the statement, “After careful review and many long discussions, we believe Graphite One shares our values of land stewardship and providing benefits to the region.” Massie continued, “Our investment in Graphite One is about providing opportunities for BSNC shareholders and being proactive about the future of our region.”

The investment agreement includes an advisory board composed of a BSNC and Graphite One members to share expertise and information with residents of the region. The advisory board member has not yet been elected by the BSNC Board of Directors.

“It’s gonna be a board made up of some of their experts, both technically, and some of their other investors, and then Bering Straits (Native Corp.) will be able to have a member on that board.”

The agreement will follow community meetings with local residents and Graphite One officials later this year.

Residents of western Alaska voiced their concerns about the project affecting their subsistence lifestyle in 2019. Despite their concerns, the project continued. Graham said this effect on subsistence was a concern for BSNC that they spoke to Graphite One officials about in detail.

“They have gone well out of their way to assure us that the footprint will be as small as possible and that the impact on subsistence resources for our people will be minimized wherever possible. And, they’ve also been really open to things like the workforce being able to leave their jobs and have their jobs when they come back after subsistence.”

The BSNC advisory board member will represent residents throughout the Bering Straits region.

“It will really be up to everyone on that board to voice their opinions and be able to pass along what they’re hearing from their constituency.”

Anthony Hustin, Graphite One’s President and CEO said in the statement, on Tuesday that the company was looking forward to partnering with BSNS and “grateful for and humbled” by their support, “All of us at G1 look forward to partnering with BSNC on ways to make our project a model not just for Alaska – but for a nation that is navigating the transition to a new energy future.”

Over the summer, on-site work took place at Graphite Creek, including drill rigs operating, and ongoing environmental and geotechnical studies.

If the project is developed, Governor Mike Dunleavy said production from Graphite One will significantly reduce the reliance on other nations for graphite. The investment builds on $37.5 million from the Department of Defense (DOD) in July. (July 17).

Photo at top: BSNC sign at office building in Anchorage taken on Sep. 9 (Photo by Ava White)

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