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U.S. Looks Overseas for Critical Minerals

The Biden administration will support up to 16 overseas projects to mine, refine and recycle minerals for electric vehicle batteries in environmentally sustainable ways that protect human rights, reports POLITICO Pro’s GREENWIRE (subscription).

What’s going on: The U.S. and other members of the recently formed Minerals Security Partnership, which includes Australia, Canada and the European Union, are vetting critical minerals projects worldwide for support, which could come in the form of financing or advocacy.

  • The Biden administration has made shoring up U.S.-sourced critical-mineral supply a priority.
  • “‘It may be it’s not every country will want to adhere to those principles, in which case, simply, that’s been part of what we’ve had to do in winnowing out from 170 projects to 16,” said [State Department Undersecretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose] Fernandez. ‘It’s our business model, and it’s a conviction, but it’s also an understanding that if it gets to see who can extract the most while doing the least for communities, we’re not going to win that game.’”

COVID-19 lessons: The partnership will help ensure a diversified critical-minerals supply chain, U.K. mining-data company Benchmark Mineral Intelligence CEO Simon Moores told the news outlet.

  • “‘If we’ve learned anything from the Covid pandemic, it’s that we cannot depend on single-point supply chains,’ he said. ‘If you look at rare earths and critical minerals, the U.S. produces very little. We’ve got to be able to secure supplies, and the [Minerals Security Partnership] is intended to be one of the means through which we do that.’”
  • Meanwhile, the market for clean energy technology could more than triple in size by the end of the next decade, according to the International Energy Agency.

The last word: “The NAM has long called for increased critical mineral supply chain flexibility,” said NAM Senior Director of Energy and Resources Policy Nile Elam.

  • “We’ve argued that growing critical mineral access while prioritizing strong regulatory guidelines and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive, as evidenced by this welcomed update from the Minerals Security Partnership.”
  • “The NAM remains ahead of the policy curve via our Critical Minerals Supply Chain Task Force, through which NAM members heard directly from the Minerals Security Partnership policy chief this past summer. We’ll continue to stand as a vital convener between critical mineral policy stakeholders and manufacturing interests as these policy objectives evolve.”

Connect with the NAM to get engaged with the NAM’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain Task Force and our work to promote energy security.

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