Ford Motor Co. requests federal government move faster on critical mining permits

September 1, 2022

Ford Motor Co. has submitted a request to the Department of Interior to expedite permits for critical mineral mining, according to The Detroit News.

Minerals including lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite are crucial for electric vehicle batteries, and are the building blocks of the auto industry’s electric transformation.

It is anticipated that automakers will compete for a limited supply of these critical minerals in the coming years, the mining of which is currently dominated by China.

"Today’s lengthy, costly and inefficient permitting process makes it difficult for American businesses to invest in the extraction and processing of critical minerals in the United States," said Chris Smith, Ford’s chief government affairs officer, in a letter to the agency.

It takes up to 10 years to complete the current permitting requirements for critical mineral mining, he said. Similar processes in Canada and Australia take two to three years “while maintaining stringent environmental standards.”

The federal government should limit permitting to a similar timeline in the United States and expand implementation of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expedite battery mineral projects on federal lands, he said.

The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act included an additional $500 million for "enhanced use" of the DPA, including for critical mineral production.

The law also created new electric vehicle tax credits for domestic mineral production. To pass along the full $7,500 credit to consumers, automakers have to build batteries with increasing amounts of critical minerals mined within the United States, or with countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement.

Ford also asked the Interior Department to fund research and mapping of critical mineral deposits in the United States, increase transparency in the permitting process, and include emissions assessments in permitting evaluations.

The comment is in response to the Interior Department's request for input as it develops recommendations related to U.S. mining laws.

Image courtesy of Ford Motor Co.


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