The US is planning to increase the supply of essential minerals for electric vehicles
The White House effort is part of an effort to reduce America’s dependence on foreign products, especially those from China.
President Biden announced several public and private investments on Tuesday to expand the domestic supply of minerals needed to make electric vehicles, computers, solar panels, and other products, but now of foreign origin.
“We cannot build a future made in America if we depend on China for the ingredients that power the products of today and tomorrow,” Biden said at a White House event.
The Pentagon has awarded MP Materials, an American miner, $35 million to expand a rare earth project in Mountain Pass, California, with the company expected to invest an additional $700 million in the supply chain.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables announced plans to break ground this spring at a facility in California to test the commercial viability of a process to extract lithium from geothermal brine. If the test is successful, the company could begin commercial production of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate by 2026.
Redwood Materials said it will be discussing a pilot project with Ford Motor and Volvo to extract lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite from retired lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, according to a statement by the White House.
The infrastructure law passed last year includes funding for projects that recover rare earth and other key minerals from coal ash and mine waste, refine battery materials, and recycle electric vehicle batteries.
Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that the United States must import nearly 100% of the vital minerals it needs from other countries, especially China, Australia, and Chile. “I was determined to change that and we have seen what happens when we become dependent on other countries for essential items,” he said.