- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2022

President Biden will announce Tuesday a series of public and private-sector investments to extract minerals such as cobalt, lithium and graphite that are needed for electric vehicles and other aspects of the global shift toward a “clean energy economy,” the White House said.

The administration expects demand for these minerals to spike 400-600% generally and demand for minerals used in electric vehicles to jump 6,000% over the next several decades. Mr. Biden is fearful the U.S. is too dependent on China so he will trumpet new investments after ordering a review of the supply chain a year ago.

“Critical minerals provide the building blocks for many modern technologies and are essential to our national security and economic prosperity,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

The Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program will award MP Materials $35 million to separate and process heavy rare earth elements at its facility in Mountain Pass, California.

MP Materials will also announce that it is investing $700 million to create 350 jobs in the permanent magnet market. The magnets are used in EV motors, defense systems, electronics, and wind turbines.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will join Mr. Biden and industry leaders in a virtual meeting touting the investments.

Also Tuesday:

• Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables (BHE Renewables) will announce a spring groundbreaking in Imperial County, California, to test the commercial viability of their sustainable lithium extraction process. The plan is to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate by 2026.

• Redwood Materials will discuss a pilot program with Ford and Volvo to collect and recycle end-of-life lithium-ion batteries at Nevada-based facilities that extract lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.

• Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will outline a $140 million project funded by bipartisan infrastructure law to recover rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal ash and other mine waste, reducing the need for new mining. She will also tout $3 million in infrastructure funding to invest in refining battery materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite, and battery recycling facilities,

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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