EVOLVE New US Plan to Rival China and End Rare Earth Metals Market Grab

The United States has made previous attempts to re-emerge as a dominant player in a rare earth supply chain that is responsible for some of the most important materials involved in electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing, renewable energy systems and technology manufacturing.

Under the Biden administration, the effort is receiving a renewed focus, with massive investments planned in climate change technology and a hard line being taken regarding geopolitical rivalries and the national security threat posed by China.

In 2019, China was responsible for 80% of rare earth imports, according to the US Geological Survey, although exports fell last year in part due to Covid-19. President Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure legislation seeks to remake the energy and transportation markets in the US and rebuild the country’s semiconductor industry.

It follows Biden signing an executive order in February designed to review gaps in national supply chains for rare earths, medical devices, chips and other key resources, and in March the Department of Energy announced a $30 million initiative that will harness the investigation and security. the US domestic supply chain for rare earths and other minerals important in battery manufacturing, such as cobalt and lithium.

Market cornering It is absolutely correct that there is a market grab with lithium and other rare earths,” Biden climate envoy John Kerry said recently at a CNBC Evolve summit on the future of energy innovation.

But efforts in the recent past to rival China in the rare earth market and rebuild a domestic industry have been thwarted. It’s technically possible to try and rebuild the entire supply chain because we once had it,” says Jane Nakano, a senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies. It’s not that we don’t have experience.

it’s not that we don’t have an idea of ​​what the domestic supply chain might look like,” Nakano said, but added that commercial, environmental and political factors can make the effort difficult to achieve, especially in a context of short time.

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