DOD investing in company study to expand domestic graphite supply chain

By Georgina DiNardo / November 29, 2023 at 1:01 PM

The Defense Department today announced a $3.2 million agreement with South Star Battery Metals Corp. in an effort to strengthen and expand the U.S. domestic graphite supply chain.

"This is another example of the critical importance of the Defense Production Act investment authorities," said Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant defense secretary for industrial base policy, in a press release today. "As one of our first awards to a Canadian company in the battery materials sector, this award exemplifies our combined commitment to strengthening our battery material supply chains and global approach to industrial base resilience."

The department entered into this agreement under Title III of the Defense Production Act, which gives DOD the power to appropriate funds to companies for feasibility studies.

South Star will perform a study that will cover the entire CSPG process from beginning to end, starting with mining and ending with final production. The study will look at economic, environmental, social and governance criteria.

If the study is successful, South Star will build a “downstream battery-grade processing facility,” located in the southeast, that would use the BamaStar mine site to provide concentrates to be transformed into CSPG, which will be used as feedstock for “domestic lithium-ion battery anode production,” according to the release.

The department hopes that this result will create a healthier, stronger domestic graphite anode supply chain.

In the past, the DPAI program has made 23 awards, totaling $717.5 million, to help with manufacturing, expansion and investment.