President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to push for the production of materials domestically. The Act, which has been pushed over fifty times since its establishment in 1950, will provide companies with funding to push the responsible domestic mining and processing of materials needed for sustainable energy.
It was rumored earlier this week that Biden was considering invoking the Act to end reliance on foreign materials for things like large-capacity batteries. In an official memorandum from the White House, Biden wrote that he would officially launch the Defense Production Act of 1950.
Biden could use Defense Production Act for EV battery material production boost
Biden wrote in the memo it was the policy of his Administration to ensure a “robust, resilient, sustainable, and environmentally responsible domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy, such as the production of large-capacity batteries, is essential to our national security and the development and preservation of domestic critical infrastructure.” As electric vehicles continue to gain market share within the United States, materials used for EV batteries, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese, are sourced more frequently from foreign countries rather than from domestic companies.
“The United States depends on unreliable foreign sources for many of the strategic and critical materials necessary for the clean energy transition — such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese for large-capacity batteries. Demand for such materials is projected to increase exponentially as the world transitions to a clean energy economy.”
The Act will help secure a reliable and sustainable supply of critical materials. It will also help control costs, as rising prices of some materials, like nickel, have skyrocketed due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Nickel experts like Trent Mell, CEO of Electra Battery Materials, have called for an increase in domestic production of materials. Nickel, for example, is mined mostly in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia. However, the United States and Canada are healthy with nickel mines, and there are other materials that are highly prevalent in North America that could end the reliance on foreign suppliers.
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