According to Bloomberg, when President Joe Biden used Cold War powers to boost home production of vital battery minerals for electric vehicles, he fired up mining companies, battery makers, and environmentalists.

Pursuant to Section 303 of the Defense Production Act, Biden added metals such as lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, and manganese to the list of critical materials to promote national defense. Mining companies can access a $750 million fund administered by the Defense Department accordingly if they aim to mine, process, or recycle these minerals.

According to Abigail Wulf, Director of Securing America’s Future Energy, the battery industry hoped that Biden’s act would persuade Congress to allocate more funds, especially for more mining and processing in the United States.

Wulf added that Congress might also assist by communicating to private markets that this is indeed taking place.

Andriew Gier, a research analyst at Capstone LLC, said that the fund might come from tax breaks incorporated into the federal budget to produce specific minerals or from a revival of Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, which included consumer tax credits for electric vehicle purchases.

According to Bloomberg, mining advocates are excited about the symbolic gesture from Biden, which might signal a shift in U.S. industrial strategy and show how far the president’s willing to go to compete with China.

Reuters cited the National Mining Association (NMA), saying that although Biden’s expected order would be limited in scope, it would send a powerful signal to global markets.

NMA’s President Richard Nolan told Reuters, “Unless we continue to build on this action. We risk feeding the mineral dominance of geopolitical rivals. “

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