On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced new investments in domestic production of minerals and materials critical to the development of technological devices, including computers, smartphones, batteries, household appliances, and vehicles. His administration’s actions will strengthen the mineral supply chain and help end the reliance on such materials from China.
Biden said in a virtual meeting, “China controls most of the global market in these minerals and the fact that we can’t build a future that’s made in America if we ourselves are dependent on China for the materials that power the products of today and tomorrow.”
He added, “This is not anti-China or anti-anything else. It’s pro-American. That’s why I’m taking action.”
Biden stated that the United States imports nearly 100% of these minerals from other countries, including China, Australia, and Chile. He anticipates that demand for these minerals will increase by 400-600% over the next several decades.
Biden said, “When it comes to clean energy, China has spent several years cornering the market on many of the materials that power the technologies that we rely on.”
The White House announced that MP Materials will invest $700 million in the magnet supply chain, creating 350 jobs by 2024. The federal government will provide the company with an additional $35 million for the magnet supply chain and rare earth element processing.
The White House also announced new steps for long-term supply chain resilience.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables will break ground in California on a facility to assess the viability of a sustainable lithium extraction process, a mineral in batteries. This is part of a multibillion-dollar initiative to invest in sustainable lithium production over the next five years.
Biden said, “These new investments are going to do more than create good-paying jobs, they’re also going to set America up to lead the world in building a clean energy economy and a clean energy future.”
Last month, lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that could bar defense contractors from sourcing rare earth minerals from China until 2026 and force the Pentagon to build a strategic stockpile of those minerals by 2025.
On Monday, Beijing announced sanctions aimed at limiting access to rare earth minerals by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon following the accusation of providing maintenance services for Taiwan’s missile defense systems.