Feb 22, 2022 - Economy & Business

The push for a domestic mineral supply chain in the U.S.

Illustration of the Earth with a hardhat on.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The White House announced new moves Tuesday morning aimed at bolstering U.S. development and processing of key minerals used in electric cars and other energy applications.

Why it matters: Demand for materials like lithium, cobalt, rare earth minerals and more is slated to soar in coming years and decades, and the U.S. is dependent on China and other nations for raw materials.

Driving the news: The White House is touting a mix of new federal aid and private sector efforts, including...

  • The Defense Department is providing MP Materials $35 million to process rare earth elements from its mining site in Mountain Pass, California. The company will announce a $700 million investment in its magnet supply chain, a White House summary states.
  • Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables plans to break ground on a demonstration project in Imperial County, California, to test sustainable lithium extraction from geothermal brine. The region includes the Salton Sea, where California Gov. Gavin Newsom hopes to enable lithium development.
  • Federal agencies are also taking steps to emphasize critical minerals more broadly, such as Defense, Energy and State Department coordination on stockpiling.

Yes, but: "Even as he works to boost U.S. minerals production, the president has blocked several proposed U.S. mines," Reuters reports.

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