Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Exclusive-Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to U.S. miners

Stock MarketsMay 25, 2021 07:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks after touring Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo 2/2

By Ernest Scheyder and Trevor Hunnicutt

(Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will rely on ally countries to supply the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles and focus on processing them domestically into battery parts, part of a strategy designed to placate environmentalists, two administration officials with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The plans will be a blow to U.S. miners who had hoped Biden would rely primarily on domestically sourced metals, as his campaign had signalled last autumn, to help fulfill his ambitions for a less carbon-intensive economy.

Rather than focus on permitting more U.S. mines, Biden's team is more focused on creating jobs that process minerals domestically into electric vehicle (EV) battery parts, according to the people.

Such a plan would help cut U.S. reliance on industry leader China for EV materials while also enticing unions with manufacturing work and, in theory, reduce pandemic-fueled unemployment.

The U.S. Commerce Department is organizing a June conference to attract more EV manufacturing to the country. Biden's proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan earmarks $174 billion to boost the domestic EV market with tax credits and grants for battery manufacturers, among other incentives. The department declined to comment.

"It's not that hard to dig a hole," said one of the sources. "What's hard is getting that stuff out and getting it to processing facilities. That's what the U.S. government is focused on."

Under the approach, the United States would rely on Canada, Australia and Brazil - among others - to produce most of the critical raw materials needed, while it competes for higher-value jobs turning those minerals into computer chips and batteries, according to the two sources.

Securing the full supply chain from metals to batteries does not require the United States to be the primary producer of the raw materials, said one of the sources.

A full strategy will be finalized after a year-long supply chain review involving national security and economic development officials.

Biden officials want to ensure the administration's EV aspirations are not imperilled as domestic mines face road blocks, the sources said, both from environmentalists and even some Democrats.

"It rings hollow when I hear everyone use this as a national defense argument, that we have to build new mines to have a greener economy," said U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat who has introduced legislation that would permanently block Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) Plc's proposed Twin Metals copper mine in Minnesota.

"President Biden is focused on seizing the electric vehicle (EV) market, sourcing and manufacturing the supply chain here in America, and creating good-paying, union jobs," said Ali Zaidi, the deputy White House national climate adviser.

"Building American-made EVs and shipping them around the world will include leveraging American-made parts and resources. This includes responsibly pursuing, developing, and mining critical minerals and materials used for EV batteries."

Zaidi also said that the administration is invested in a strategy that includes recycling in the supply chain.

While U.S. projects from small and large miners alike will feel the impact, the pain from any blocked projects will fall disproportionately on smaller, U.S.-focused companies. Many large miners also have global projects that could benefit from the administration's plan.

"We can no longer push the production of the products we want to places we cannot see and to people we will never meet," said Mckinsey Lyon of Perpetua Resources Corp, which is trying to develop Idaho's Stibnite mine to produce gold and antimony used to make EV battery alloys.

INVESTMENTS The U.S. government in April became the largest shareholder in mining investment firm TechMet, which controls a Brazilian nickel project, a Rwandan tungsten mine and is a major investor in a Canadian battery recycler. Washington also funds research into Canadian cobalt projects and rare earths projects in Malawi, among other international investments. The State Department's Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) is one of the main programs Washington plans to use to help allies discover and develop lithium, cobalt and other EV metals. To be sure, Washington is not ignoring domestic mining.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded grants to help old coal mines find ways to produce rare earths. U.S. officials have also funded MP Materials Corp, which owns the country's only rare earths mine, though it relies on Chinese processors. But the bulk of Biden's approach is designed to sidestep battles with environmentalists and save capital for other fights, according to one administration source. During a visit to a Ford Motor (NYSE:F) Co plant in Michigan on May 18, Biden called for government grants for new EV battery facilities. He mentioned Australia's lithium reserves during the tour, but not large U.S. supplies of the key battery mineral.

Republicans say Biden's EV plans will be impossible to achieve without more U.S. mines.

"These 'not-in-my-backyard' extremists have made clear they want to lock up our land and prevent the mining of minerals," U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, told a House Natural Resources Committee forum held the same day as Biden's Michigan visit. PLACATING LABOR Biden's approach comes with risks, including angering political supporters within the labor movement who want the administration to have an openness to resource extraction and the attendant jobs. "Let's let Americans extract these minerals from the earth," said Aaron Butler of United Association Local 469 union, which does work for Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) Ltd's proposed Resolution copper mine project in Arizona and endorsed Biden in the elections. "These are good-paying jobs." Many of the skills that labor unions would use to build mines, including concrete and electrical work, can also be used to build EV metal processing plants. The National Mining Association, an industry trade group, has been lobbying the White House and Congress to support domestic projects, arguing that the coronavirus pandemic showed the importance of localizing supply chains. Biden's White House is now quietly working to enlist labor support as it tries to build a case that its green policies are creating jobs, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that could determine whether the strategy wins congressional backing, according to two organized labor sources familiar with the campaign Biden officials have reached out to unions across the country asking for specific job-boosting projects the administration can take credit for, the labor sources said.

Exclusive-Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to U.S. miners
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (11)
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us May 26, 2021 4:03AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Inflafion will 100% not be transitory
John Shiels
John Shiels May 25, 2021 10:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/05/24/iea-highlights-solars-dependence-on-chinese-copper-processing/?fbclid=IwAR1_HnaaRFmQAHd79t0iD09NS_CVo7_bbL91KFHUOtFM0iwGXAMrPmXX-Fc
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 25, 2021 7:58PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Biden is pro unemployment
Wayne Gillispie
Wayne Gillispie May 25, 2021 7:43PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Have you tried to buy any solar panels, inverters or lithium iron phosphate batteries made in the USA?? $40K in junk made in Malaysia and China. Jeez...wish me luck.
danny Levine
danny Levine May 25, 2021 7:42PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
hypocritical sun of a beach
Lake Lot
Lake Lot May 25, 2021 7:42PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Yep
Wayne Gillispie
Wayne Gillispie May 25, 2021 7:40PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Most men in positions of trust, power and authority in the USA are not committed to their own wife. I have not expected anything else from US leaders. They do sn excellent job of keeping their zippers lubricated.
David David
David9 May 25, 2021 10:34AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
I told you guys... we cannot make and produce anything here. We cannot compete...
Wayne Gillispie
Wayne Gillispie May 25, 2021 10:34AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How many of my HVAC service and changeout jobs consist of parts maufactured in the USA??? 1%. Jeez we are srooed.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy May 25, 2021 8:32AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Lol, there is simply no miners left.  Everyone got handouts and stays home.
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey May 25, 2021 8:28AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
So it's more "environmentally conscious" to transport these materials across continents than mine them here? I guess fairy dust is what fuels most of the tankers etc needed to ship them. I've been saying this for a while: rich nations are going to simply outsource their pollution to other nations (like France) to meet Paris agreements. Thus creating a net neutral impact (at best) to the planet. But at least it's good virtue signaling.
Karl Kessler
Karl Kessler May 25, 2021 8:28AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Yes, absolutely. The irony is that we're outsourcing pollution, but also technical know-how and industrial infrastructure. That's the real wealth. Then, when we're all toothless and naked, those countries will finally open up THEIR mines, HERE, and we'll have nothing to say about it. Keep speaking up. This sort of thinking (if you can call it that) is unsustainable.
Karl Kessler
Karl Kessler May 25, 2021 7:08AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Yes, let's ship ores from Australia using megatons of bunker fuel because we want to reduce fossil fuel use in transport... Shaking my head. When will a US administration hire someone who knows what they're doing?
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 25, 2021 6:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Biden administration is against jobs
Ruud Gullitt
Ruud Gullitt May 25, 2021 6:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
nah. they are smart. you dont want arnery overpaid american labor union workers causing problems and elevating prices....
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us May 25, 2021 6:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Globalist corporations own the US
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email