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Biden awards $2.8 billion to boost US mineral production for EV batteries

Biden awards $2.8 billion to boost US mineral production for EV batteries
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WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The Biden administration said Wednesday it is awarding $2.8 billion in grants to boost U.S. production of electric vehicle batteries and the minerals used in their construction boost, which is part of a bid to wean the country off supplies from China.

“By undercutting U.S. manufacturers with their unfair subsidies and trade practices, China has grabbed a significant chunk of the market,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday when announcing the awards. “Today we are stepping up… to reclaim it, not all of it, but bold goals.”

Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) is among 20 manufacturing and processing companies receiving U.S. Department of Energy grants to mine lithium, graphite and nickel domestically, build the first large-scale U.S. lithium processing facility, construct facilities to build cathodes and other battery parts, and battery recycling to expand.

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The grants, which will go to projects in at least 12 states, mark the Biden administration’s latest push to reduce the country’s reliance on China and other nations for the building blocks of the green energy revolution.

The grant recipients, first reported by Reuters, were selected by a White House steering committee and coordinated by the Department of Energy with support from the Department of the Interior.

But the program does nothing to mitigate permitting delays faced by some in the mining industry.

Albemarle is to receive $149.7 million to build a facility in North Carolina that will lightly process lithium-bearing rock from a mine that is slated to reopen. This plant would then feed a separate US plant of the company said in June would double the company’s lithium production for EV batteries.

Albemarle, which also produces lithium in Australia and Chile, said the grant “increases the speed of lithium processing and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from long-distance transportation of raw minerals.”

Piedmont Lithium Inc (PLL.O)whose shares rose nearly 11% after the news received $141.7 million to start his own business lithium processing plant in Tennessee, where the company will initially process the sourced metal Quebec and Ghana. Piedmont’s plans to build a lithium mine in North Carolina have faltered strong resistance.

Talon Metals Corp (TLO.TO)who has one nickel supply business with Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), awarded $114.8 million to build processing facility in North Dakota. This facility will process rock mined from the proposed underground mine in Minnesota.

The grants are “a clear recognition that the production of indigenous nickel and other battery minerals is a national priority,” Talon said.

Additional grants include $316.2 million to privately held Ascend Elements for the construction of a battery parts plant and $50 million to privately held Lilac Solutions Inc for a demonstration plant so-called direct lithium extraction technologies$75 million to privately held Cirba Solutions to expand a battery recycling facility in Ohio; and $219.8 million to Syrah Technologies LLC, a Syrah Resources Ltd. subsidiary (SYR.AX)to expand a graphite processing facility in Louisiana.

BIDEN’S GOAL

Biden wants 50% of all new vehicles sold in the United States to be electric or plug-in hybrid-electric by 2030, along with 500,000 new EV charging stations. He has not advocated phasing out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030.

Legislation related to the program, which Biden signed into law in August, sets new stringent requirements for battery components and the procurement of $7,500 in consumer EV tax credits. A separate $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law in November 2021 provides $7 billion to ensure US manufacturers have access to critical minerals and other components to make the batteries.

The White House said the United States and its allies are not producing enough of the critical minerals and materials used in EV batteries.

“China currently controls much of the critical mineral supply chain, and the US’ lack of mining, processing and recycling capacity could hamper the development and adoption of electric vehicles and leave the US dependent on unreliable foreign supply chains,” the White House said.

In March, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used in electric vehicle batteries.

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Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Additional reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Alexandra Alper; Bernadette Baum, Matthew Lewis, Paul Simao, and Deepa Babington

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

Ernest Scheider

Thomson Reuters

Covers the future of energy and transportation, including electric vehicle and battery technology, with a focus on lithium, copper, cobalt, rare earths and other minerals, politics, politics, etc. The company previously covered oil and natural gas, including a stay at Bakken- North Dakota shale oil field.

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