Biden administration could use Cold War powers to advance production of critical minerals

March 30, 2022

The Biden administration could invoke Cold War powers to encourage domestic production of critical minerals for electric-vehicle and other types of batteries, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg reported that the White House will add battery materials to the list of items covered by the 1950 Defense Production Act — the same authority wielded by Harry Truman to make steel for the Korean War and Donald Trump to spur mask production to tackle the coronavirus pandemic — the people said. They asked not to be identified because the details are not yet public.

It was welcome news for producers of critical materials such as MP Materials Corp. and Lithium Americas Corp. which both saw gains of share prices as news leaked out.

Adding minerals like lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt and manganese to the list could help mining companies access $750 million under the Defense Production Act’s Title III fund, the people said. The move also could aid recycling of battery materials, one of the people said.

Instead of loans or direct purchases for minerals, the directive would fund production at current operations, productivity and safety upgrades, and feasibility studies, the person said. In addition to EV batteries, the directive also would apply to large-capacity batteries.

Read the entire Bloomberg article here. This story will be updated.


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