Biden announces new investments in mineral production to address supply chain shortages

The investments, which are the administration’s latest step to address lingering supply chain issues that have plagued Biden since taking office, come a year after he signed an executive order ordering a comprehensive review of supply chain vulnerabilities.

“Today we are announcing a major investment in the domestic production of key minerals and materials,” Biden said at a White House event. ‘China controls most of the global market for these minerals and the fact (is) that we cannot build a made-in-America future if we ourselves are dependent on China for the materials that power the products of today’ today and tomorrow. And it’s not anti-China or anti anything. It’s pro-American.”

The President announced $35 million in funding to Nevada-based mining company MP Materials under the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Sustainment and Analysis Program to separate and process materials in a facility in Mountain Pass, California. The investment will enable MP Materials to establish a comprehensive national permanent magnet supply chain, creating more than 350 jobs by 2024 and strengthening the country’s competitiveness with China, which is currently responsible for 87% of the global permanent magnet market. , according to the administration.

Additionally, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables and Redwood Materials announced new investments in facilities to mine and extend the life of lithium materials, respectively, which are crucial in the production of battery technology.

Biden said the United States needs a supply chain that is “reliable” and includes “critical materials like lithium, graphite, rare earths, which are essential for so many American products.” He added that “so far we have had to import a significant portion, almost 100% import, from other countries, including China, Australia and Chile.”

“We’ve seen what happens when we become dependent on other countries for essential goods, like computer chips. Everyone knows that because computer chips are so needed,” the president said. “Why did the cost of an automobile skyrocket and become about a third of the reason for rising inflation? It’s because they didn’t have computer chips .You can’t build an automobile today without those chips.”

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm participated in Tuesday’s announcement.

“We think it’s important. We don’t want to underestimate it. We don’t want to overstate it either,” Newsom told Biden. “We’re still doing a lot of due diligence, but if it’s as important as it sounds, it’s a game-changer in terms of our efforts to shift to green, low-carbon growth and radically change the way we produce and consume energy. And it’s a pivotal moment in history that you’re doing, not just here today, but the work that you did last year.

The administration was also expected to announce $140 million in bipartisan infrastructure law funding to recover rare minerals from coal ash and other mining waste, a sustainability effort that the administration’s projects will reduce the need for. new mines while protecting manufacturing jobs in the coal sector.

The infrastructure act also provides $3 billion in funding for lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite refining and battery recycling facilities, according to the White House.

Tuesday’s announcement is one of many the White House is making this week in its efforts to address supply chain issues, a White House official tells CNN, as inflation hits highs. record high and the prices of consumer goods are skyrocketing. These announcements include investments to modernize ports, repair transportation and increase domestic manufacturing.

Amid a rapidly unfolding crisis overseas with Russia’s actions escalating in Ukraine, as well as market concerns about what the ongoing dispute could mean for gas prices, officials Americans are also trying to keep the focus on domestic work to bring down prices for American families and address some of the global supply chain issues sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House will announce new actions on Thursday to invest in U.S. manufacturing – including food, energy, transportation and healthcare – to bolster the chains’ long-term resilience. critical supplies, the official said.

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of Biden’s executive order on fixing America’s supply chains, and seven federal agencies will release six individual reports to “underline the administration’s whole-of-government approach to strengthening America’s supply chains,” according to the manager.

There will be two more supply chain announcements related to the bipartisan infrastructure law on Wednesday and Friday, the official said. The manager did not provide details on what exactly those announcements would be.

“By making historic investments in our ports and supply chain infrastructure here at home, we can speed the movement of goods and reduce costs for the American people,” the official told CNN.

This story has been updated with remarks from President Joe Biden.

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