WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - The United States must work
with allies to secure the minerals needed for electric vehicle
batteries and process them domestically in light of
environmental and other competing interests, the White House
said on Tuesday.
The strategy, first reported by Reuters in late May, will
include new funding to expand international investments in
electric vehicles (EV) metal projects through the U.S.
Development Finance Corporation, as well as new efforts to boost
supply from recycling batteries.
The U.S. has been working to secure minerals from allied
countries, including Canada and Finland. The 250-page report
outlining policy recommendations mentioned large lithium
supplies in Chile and Australia, the world's two largest
producers of the white battery metal.
President Joe Biden's administration will also launch a
working group to identify where minerals used in EV batteries
and other technologies can be produced and processed
Securing enough copper, lithium and other raw materials to
make EV batteries is a major obstacle to Biden's aggressive EV
adoption plans, with domestic mines facing extensive regulatory
hurdles and environmental opposition.
The White House acknowledged China's role as the world's
largest processor of EV metals and said it would expand efforts
to lessen that dependency.
"The United States cannot and does not need to mine and
process all critical battery inputs at home. It can and should
work with allies and partners to expand global production and to
ensure secure global supplies," it said in the report.
The White House also said the Department of the Interior and
others agencies will work to identify gaps in mine permitting
laws to ensure any new production "meets strong standards" in
terms of both the environment and community input.
The report noted Native American opposition to Lithium
Americas Corp's Thacker Pass lithium project in Nevada,
as well as plans by automaker Tesla Inc to produce its
The steps come after Biden, who has made fighting climate
change and competing with China centerpieces of his agenda,
ordered a 100-day review of gaps in supply chains in key areas,
Democrats are pushing aggressive climate goals to have a
majority of U.S.-manufactured cars be electric by 2030 and every
car on the road to be electric by 2040.
As part of the recommendations from four executive branch
agencies, Biden is being advised to take steps to restore the
country's strategic mineral stockpile and expand funding to map
the mineral resources available domestically.
Some of those steps would require the support of Congress,
where Biden's fellow Democrats have only slim majorities.
The Energy Department already has $17 billion in authority
through its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan
program to fund some investments.
The program's administrators will focus on financing battery
manufacturers and companies that refine, recycle and process
critical minerals, the White House said.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington and Ernest
Scheyder in Houston; Editing by Mary Milliken, Aurora Ellis and