President Biden joined a bipartisan group of House and Senate Members on Monday to sign the largest investment in U.S. infrastructure in over 70 years. The bill’s $1.7 trillion in funding has a long list of projects, among which are repairing our roads and bridges as well as electrifying our transportation systems.
When it comes to infrastructure, nearly every project depends on a reliable and abundant supply of minerals, with the electrification of our transportation systems standing out as a particularly minerals-intensive undertaking. The president’s ambitious plan for electric vehicles, buses and trains – and the associated infrastructure required to power them – is pivotal to U.S. efforts to meet its climate goals.
A new report from the Atlantic Council details the direct connection between our mineral supply chains and delivering an electrified transportation sector. The report, The Role of Minerals in U.S. Transportation Electrification Goals, concludes that policymakers and the private sector must work together to fulfill the exponential growth in minerals demand to achieve an electrified future.
“Continued investment at home and abroad, as well as consideration of how to streamline the launch of new minerals projects, will be critical to promptly growing sufficient minerals supplies to meet EV goals.”
Coinciding with this report’s release, the USGS recently published a draft list of 50 minerals deemed ‘critical’ to U.S. national security and the economy. Every mineral on the list faces supply chain disruptions and many are essential inputs to EV batteries, motors and drivetrains. When you consider that many of the minerals on the list are only found as byproducts of or collocated with minerals like copper, silver and gold, which are not on the list, it’s a wonder the list isn’t more extensive.
The U.S. is at a mining crossroads. We have abundant mineral resources right here at home, but we need to remove self-imposed obstacles in order to access them. The anticipated increase in EVs and the deployment of future energy technologies must be accompanied by more production and processing capabilities here at home.
It’s no secret that U.S. policy changes don’t happen overnight. But our current and cumbersome mine permitting system must be fixed if we’re going to realize the accelerated EV future envisioned by President Biden and members of Congress from both parties.
NMA President and CEO