Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Enhancing North American Cobalt and Graphite Supply Chains: Department of Defense Awards $14.9 Million


Department of Defense Awards $14.9 Million to Enhance North American Cobalt and Graphite Supply Chains

The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken significant steps towards strengthening the critical mineral supply chains in North America through notable financial awards. These efforts are part of the broader U.S.-Canadian Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Initiative aimed at bolstering both countries’ defense, aerospace, clean energy, communication, and other vital industries.

In a landmark move, Canadian companies Fortune Minerals Limited (Fortune) and Lomiko Metals, Inc. (Lomiko) have been awarded $6.5 million and $8.4 million, respectively. These awards are facilitated through the Defense Production Act Investment (DPAI) program, highlighting the critical partnership between the United States and Canada in securing their mutual interests in critical mineral production and supply.

Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, emphasized the significance of these grants as they demonstrate the crucial role of DPA funds and the strong partnership between the Department and Canada. This collaboration is pivotal in enhancing North American material supply chains and is in alignment with the 2024 National Defense Industrial Strategy, which seeks to continue and expand support for domestic production of critical minerals.

The joint efforts between the United States and Canada, as highlighted in the Action Plan announced in January 2020, showcase the mutual commitment to advancing the production of critical minerals necessary for key industries. This includes establishing secure value chains for these minerals, which are essential for the future prosperity and sustainability of both nations.

The Canadian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, pointed out Canada’s ambition to become a global leader in the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals. This goal aligns with building secure critical minerals value chains through collaboration with the United States and other allies, catering to the needs of a green and digital economy.

Fortune’s award, supplemented by $5.6 million from the Canadian government, aims to enhance cobalt sulfate and bismuth metal production capabilities pivotal for both DoD and civilian markets. This funding will enable Fortune to complete necessary steps to bring its NICO Project closer to construction, including feasibility studies and obtaining the required permits. The NICO Project aims to establish a vertically integrated development, covering the entire production process from mining to refining metals to final product stages, thus securing a North American source for these critical minerals.

Similarly, Lomiko’s award, with an additional $3.6 million from Canadian funds, will expedite the development of the La Loutre natural flake graphite project. This project is set to supply high-quality graphite essential for defense applications and the burgeoning electric vehicle market in North America. The funds will cover comprehensive studies to de-risk and optimize the project design, aiming to establish Lomiko as a stable North American graphite supply for various critical applications.

Since the inception of fiscal year 2024, the DPA Program has granted 15 awards totaling $336 million. This highlights the DoD’s commitment, overseen by the MCEIP program within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience, to bolstering the resilience and security of America’s industrial base through strategic investments and partnerships.

These awards mark a significant advancement in the secure and sustainable supply of critical minerals, underpinning both countries’ defense capabilities and broader economic interests. By fostering a more resilient supply chain, the United States and Canada are setting a precedent for cooperation and strategic development in the critical minerals sector, ensuring a stable and secure future for both nations.

Jordan Clark
Jordan Clarkhttps://www.businessorbital.com/
Jordan Clark brings a dynamic and investigative approach to business reporting. Holding a degree in Business Administration and a certification in Data Analysis, Jordan has an eye for detail and a knack for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. His career began in the bustling world of Silicon Valley startups, giving him firsthand experience in tech entrepreneurship and venture capital. Jordan's reports often focus on technology's impact on business, startup culture, and emerging

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