President Joe Biden and the White House will announce major investments to expand the domestic critical minerals supply chain later today. The plans intend to break the United States’ dependence on China while boosting sustainable practices.
President Biden will meet with Administration and State Partners, along with industry executives, community representatives, labor leaders, and California Governor Gavin Newsom to announce the investments, the White House said today. The investments plan to hone in on the domestic production of key critical minerals and materials, which will create “good-paying, union jobs in sustainable production.”
The White House says the acquisition of the minerals is essential for nearly every part of everyday life, from entertainment to business, to transportation. While the minerals are essential for everything from household appliances to computers, President Biden’s focus on sustainability seems to be the main accelerator for the massive investments. The White House says that demand for critical minerals is set to skyrocket by between 400 and 600 percent in the next several decades, with EV battery demand increasing by 4,000 percent. Currently, the U.S. purchases many of these materials from foreign entities, especially China. “The U.S. is increasingly dependent on foreign sources for many of the processed versions of these minerals,” the White House said. “Globally, China controls most of the market for processing and refining for cobalt, lithium, rare earths, and other critical minerals.
The plan starts with a $35 million award to MP Materials on behalf of the Department of Defense “to separate and process heavy rare earth elements at its facility in Mountain Pass, California, establishing a full end-to-end domestic permanent magnet supply chain.” MP Materials plans to invest an additional $700 million to create 350 jobs by 2024.
Redwood Materials will also be at the event, discussing a pilot for its “pathways program” with Ford and Volvo for the collection and recycling of lithium-ion batteries that have reached their end-of-life.
Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will discuss its $140 million demonstration project, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) “to recover rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal ash and other mine waste, reducing the need for new mining.” Granholm will also detail $3 billion in funding created by the BIL which will be used to invest in refining battery materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite, and battery recycling facilities, creating good-paying clean energy manufacturing jobs.
The White House also will congratulate MP Materials, BHE Renewables, Controlled Thermal Resources, EnergySource Minerals, General Motors, and Tesla for their various announcements which commit to the domestic sourcing of critical minerals and materials.
- MP Materials recently announced construction of a rare earth metal, alloy and magnet manufacturing facility in Texas and a long-term supply agreement with General Motors to power the motors in more than a dozen of GM’s EV models. Production will begin next year, with capacity to produce enough magnets to power 500,000 EV motors annually.
- In addition to BHE Renewables, Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) and EnergySource Minerals have established operations in Imperial County to extract lithium from geothermal brine. GM will source lithium for EV batteries from CTR. The companies are also working with the state-authorized Lithium Valley Commission to develop a royalty structure that would invest profits from their operations in infrastructure, health, and educational investments for the residents of the surrounding region.
- Tesla intends to source high-grade nickel for EV batteries from Talon Metals’ Tamarack nickel project under development in Minnesota. Talon Metals and the United Steelworkers (USW) have established a workforce development partnership for the project to train workers on next-generation technologies in the local community and from mining regions in the U.S. facing declining demand. As part of this partnership, Talon has agreed to remain neutral in any union organizing efforts by USW.
CNN also reports that two additional announcements not included on the White House Fact Sheet will also be included in the presentation later today
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