As the world economic scene continues to see greater shades of protectionism, many countries are seeking plans on how to become more self-sufficient with certain commodities and essential minerals. Over the years, much of the world has relied upon imports in order to secure the necessary commodity supply. However, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and the rise of global populism has taken a sour stance on globalism, which has given rise to protectionism and contingency plans to become less reliant on trade partners.
On December 20, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13817 called “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”
In the executive order report, the White House notes that the “United States is heavily reliant on imports of certain mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity. This dependency of the United States on foreign sources creates a strategic vulnerability for both its economy and military to adverse foreign government action, natural disaster, and other events that can disrupt the supply of these key minerals.”
The president’s executive order effectively called upon the Secretary of the Interior (along with Secretary of Defense) to draft a list of minerals and metals that are deemed critical to the U.S. economy and/or national security interests. Furthermore, the executive order calls for increasing activity across all levels of the supply chain, as well as streamlining leases and permitting process.
On May 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Interior published its final list of critical minerals for 2018. The list contains thirty-five different minerals. Among the list of critical minerals was graphite. Graphite is a critical mineral used in batteries, coatings, brakes, paints, powdered metal compounds, and more.
One company seeking to take advantage of President Trump’s executive order is Great Lakes Graphite, Inc. (dba NovoCarbon Corporation) (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK).
NovoCarbon: Actively Pursuing Graphite-Related U.S. Department of Defense Opportunities
NovoCarbon Corporation operates as a clean technology minerals processing company, which supplies high-quality and value-added carbon products to its clients. The company has been selling micronized synthetic graphite since 2016 and recently added a high-purity micronized natural flake graphite product to its lineup.
On July 23, 2018, NovoCarbon Corp. announces that it has been actively pursuing graphite-related business opportunities with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) serves as the DOD’s supply chain procurement and management arm, which is tasked with assisting in the carrying out of President Trump’s executive order on critical mineral supplies.
According to a recent DLA Broad Agency Announcement (BAA): “The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is seeking to identify a domestic capability that demonstrates the ability to source and manufacture battery-grade graphite, both natural and synthetic. Specialty refined and upgraded graphite is a critical input material in multiple supply chains of the DLA. Graphite is an integral component in batteries (lithium-ion, alkaline, lithium primary and reserve types), conductive coatings, refractories, brake systems, lubricants, paints, powdered metal compounds and other critical parts. Defense weapon systems use various strategic and critical materials of which there is very limited domestic production of these materials and therefore a risk of foreign reliance.”
NovoCarbon Corp. CEO Paul Gorman has visited Washington D.C. earlier this year to attend high-level meetings with officials from the Department of Energy and the DOD. Following successful meetings, the company began its application process to potentially become a supplier to the US government.
The company announced that it has submitted the required materials and white paper brief detailing of the proposed “initial steps to enhance the resiliency of the supply chain for highly processed graphite required for the manufacture of batteries and energy storage systems.”
“While there is certainly no guarantee of success, we are confident in our prospects and are highly encouraged by the preliminary feedback we have received in meetings with personnel at the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, we have become aware of additional opportunities that are available through the DOD and are preparing to pursue them. We are being supported by the team at J. A. Green & Company, whose assistance has been invaluable,” details CEO Paul Gorman.
Overall, NovoCarbon Corp. continues to be well-positioned to benefit from the United States’ move to secure supplies of critical minerals. The company has completed the initial phase of the application process to be an official supplier of high-quality and high-purity graphite minerals to the U.S. government. While it could take some time to navigate through the application and selection process, NovoCarbon Corp. has all of the necessary components to land this game-changing business opportunity.
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