Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Increase Supply of Critical Minerals

The US imported more than half of its supply of at least 46 minerals in 2020, and 17 of its entire supply. US Geological Survey. Most of the materials come from China, which leads the world in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries and is known to halt exports of certain products in times of political tension. including rare earth minerals.

Biden management warned He said dependence on foreign substances poses a threat to America’s security and has promised to increase domestic supplies of semiconductors, batteries and drugs, among other goods. While there are some undiscovered deposits of nickel, cobalt, and other important minerals and metals in the United States, mines and processing plants can take many years to develop. two thirds of the world all cobalt production It is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Chinese companies own or finance 15 of the 19 largest mines as of 2020.

However, bilateral support for expanding American mining and processing of battery components has increased in recent years. In a March 11 letter to Mr. Biden, senators, including Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III, proposed introducing the Defense Production Act to accelerate domestic production of components for lithium-ion battery materials. , especially graphite, manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium.

Todd M. Malan, head of climate strategy at Talon Metals, which is developing a nickel mine in Minnesota, said Washington has reached a bilateral consensus on providing more support for local mining of electric vehicle battery minerals. Russia and China for battery materials and energy transition imperative.”

But some domestic developments may face opposition from environmentalists in Mr. Biden’s own party.

Arizona Democrat Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, said on Wednesday that mining companies have “made opportunistic pleas to advance a decades-old mining agenda that has gotten pollutants off the hook and Americans have suffered the consequences.” ”

Fast-track mining under outdated standards that puts our public health, wildlife and sanctuaries at risk of permanent damage is simply not the answer,” he added.

Dionne Seacey contributing reporting.

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