Biden Administration to Boost Domestic Manufacturing of ‘Critical Minerals’

The Biden presidency is contemplating a series of investments to increase domestic production of crucial minerals used in common items, as the country grapples with supply chain issues. 

Fact Sheet Report

According to a White House information sheet announcing the expenditures, “critical minerals” are the building elements of numerous modern technologies and are critical to the nation’s security and economic development.

These minerals, which include raw materials, lithium, and cobalt, are used in various items, ranging from computers to home appliances. 

Additionally, they serve as critical components in sustainable energy technologies, such as batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.

The United States is becoming increasingly reliant on foreign sources for many of these minerals’ processed forms.

Internationally, China controls the majority of the market for cobalt, lithium, rare earth, and other important minerals for processing and refining. 

The fact sheet revealed “in addition to collaborating with partners and allies to diversify sustainable supplies,” the reports advocated enhancing domestic mining, manufacturing, refining, and recycling of vital minerals and commodities.

President Biden will convene a meeting with presidency and state collaborators, industry leaders, community members, union leaders, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

This will be done to proclaim significant investments in domestic manufacturing of vital minerals and substances, ensuring these assets benefit the public and create good-paying union jobs in resource efficiency.

The fact sheet then detailed the administration’s strategy for resolving the country’s “excessive reliance on foreign sources” of essential minerals.

Grants and Initiatives

The Defense Department granted a $35 million contract to rare-earth mining corporation MP Materials to extract and handle rare-earth elements at its Mountain Pass, CA facility through its Industrial Base Assessment and Sustainment program. 

The award would seek to construct a comprehensive start-to-finish supply chain for magnet manufacturing, utilized in electric motors, weapon systems, electronic devices, and wind turbines.

Additionally, MP Materials launched a $700 million investment to create 350 jobs by 2024. Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables announced plans to build a plant to evaluate the viability of its lithium extraction technology from geothermal brine.

Redwood Materials intends to collaborate with Ford and Volvo on a pilot initiative to collect and recover rare-earth minerals from spent lithium-ion batteries. 

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm unveiled a $140 million project by the Department of Energy to recover rare-earth elements from coal ash and other mine wastes, thereby lowering the demand for new mines. 

Granholm would also highlight a $3 billion investment in refining ingredients used in battery materials through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

Additionally, the Biden administration highlighted various investments made by private enterprises to promote the projects outlined in the fact sheet.

Moreover, the administration lauded its work over the last year to “ensure a stable and sustainable supply of important minerals and commodities.”

This included amending mining laws, revising the federal set of important minerals, and bolstering the critical mineral inventory.