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Joe Biden is Prepared to Use The Defense Production Act to Increase The Production of Battery Metals!
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The White House is planning to add battery materials to the list of products covered by the 1950 Defense Production Act, which gave Harry Truman the authority to manufacture steel for the Korean War and Donald Trump the authority to boost mask production in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Because the specifics aren’t yet public, they wanted to remain anonymous.
On Wednesday, MP Materials Corp., the only firm in the U.S. that manufactures rare earth metals for EVs, had its stock rise 4.7%. Lithium Americas Corp., which operates a Nevada project, is on track for its highest rise in over 11 weeks, while Piedmont Lithium Inc., which operates a North Carolina project, has erased losses, jumping as much as 8.7%.
According to the sources, minerals such as lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, and manganese may be added to the list, allowing mining corporations to enter $750 million from the Defense Production Act’s Title III budget, according to the sources. According to one of the guys, the shift might also help with battery recycling.
Instead of loans or outright mineral purchases, the direction would subsidize present operations’ output, productivity and safety enhancements, and feasibility studies, according to the source. The directive would apply to large-capacity batteries as well as EV batteries.
According to one person familiar with the situation, administration officials are striving to guarantee that manufacturing takes place under strict labor and environmental norms. Aides are making efforts to ensure that the president‘s actions do not circumvent environmental studies or permit laws, despite worries from opponents and some Democratic members of Congress. The endeavor will be overseen by many departments, including energy and interior, according to the source.
According to Ben Steinberg, co-chair of Venn Strategies’ critical infrastructure group, the directive would clear the path for Congress to contribute greater funding to the initiative.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of senators, including Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, James Risch of Idaho, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, wrote to the Biden administration urging the president to use the DPA to speed up the production of battery materials.
The Biden administration has already committed large sums – notably $6 billion as part of the infrastructure plan – to building a domestic battery supply chain and weaning the car sector off its reliance on China, the world’s largest supplier of lithium-ion cells. Energy independence activists have also encouraged the administration to spend more upstream on mining and mineral processing, which is a critical step in the EV industry, which is also mostly overtaken by China.
The number of mineral commodities, excluding fuels, in which the United States is dependent on imports for even more than a quarter of consumption has risen to 58 from 21 in 1954, according to a July White House assessment on the nation’s supply chains.
Nickel, lithium, and cobalt costs have soared this year as a result of rising global EV demand, supply chain disruptions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which drove nickel prices skyrocketing. The price fluctuations are contributing to inflation while also highlighting the industry’s fragility as it transitions to renewable energy in the U.S..
The decision would be a political olive branch to the mining industry, which has been marginalized by the Biden administration’s push for green energy transition and on-shoring of local manufacturing skills.
While the Defense Production Act would make it simpler to raise funds for battery metal projects, it would not accelerate the rate of mines permitted.
Global warming activists, environmental organizations, and indigenous groups have all spoken out against mining’s nasty side effects, such as its effects on water sources and local communities. The US Department of Agriculture requested the Forest Service to revoke two agreements a year ago that approved a land transfer involving Native American territory in Arizona that would have become North America‘s largest copper mine.
Copper is often regarded as the most important metal in terms of volume for electric cars and the energy transition. Following vociferous resistance from the nearby San Carlos Apache tribe, who claimed the mine was located on a sacred and holy site, the Resolution copper mine was shut down last year.