January 06, 2023
2022 was another significant year for minerals mining and set the...
Bipartisanship is a rare but critical commodity in Washington these days. So, it’s all the more laudable that a recently introduced Senate bill will promote U.S. production of minerals and materials critical to clean energy and electric vehicle value chains. The Minerals Security Act is an important first step in recognizing — and responding to — the fact that China is outcompeting the U.S in the transition to new energy technologies and vehicles. It’s time for Congress to take up this and other measures that will enhance the competitiveness of the United States in the critical years to come.
The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and has bipartisan co-sponsors. It would streamline many regulatory and permitting processes related to the domestic mining for minerals like lithium and graphite that are essential for clean energy, electric vehicle and defense applications.
The legislation comes at an important time. Tesla recently warned of a looming shortage in the minerals necessary for electric vehicle battery production. Meanwhile, China is consolidating its control over the mines, processing plants and broader supply chains that utilize these minerals. China is currently the top resource holder for 10 of the minerals and materials essential to wind, solar and battery storage technologies. The next closest country is Australia, at five. The United States doesn’t lead in any of these resources, but it is in the top-five for 10 different resources. Unlike China, however, it is doing little to harness them.