The U.S. has a critical mineral shortage which is hurting electric car initiative and agriculture
We have been hearing about the global computer chip shortage, which that limits production of consumer electric vehicles and digital devices for precision ag technologies.
Here is a closer look at how the government is hoping to advance domestic critical mineral production as a solution.
Federal agencies have bought around 500 electric vehicles so far this year, but the Biden administration’s goal to electrify the entire federal fleet is likely to be delayed by a shortage of critical minerals.
According to Department of Energy Deputy Secretary, David Turk, “The average electric vehicle by some estimates uses about six times the amount of critical minerals that an internal combustion engine, and just think about all those EVS that will be coming into the system. And what that means for a variety of key critical minerals.”
The U.S. is currently import reliant for 31 out of 35 critical minerals, nearly half have no domestic production. Turk says that gives our competitors a major advantage.
“Take China, for instance, the only country that controls every tear of the supply chain for critical minerals in our world right now, including lithium. They have 80 percent of raw material refining capacity, the U.S. has virtually none right now, China has over 75 percent of global battery cell fabrication capacity, the U.S. has less than 10 percent,” he explains.
Companies like General Motors have started focusing on domestic component production to shore up the supply chain. Senior strategist, Michael Maten says that it will also be an opportunity to boost manufacturing jobs in rural communities.
“We’ve also made a commitment to battery cell manufacturing in the U.S., we’ve announced two plants, so far, that will produce about 30-35 gigawatt hours of cells, each of those will be in Spring Hill, Tennessee and also Lordstown, Ohio,” Maten states.
Arkansas Senator Lisa Murkowski says that lawmakers have also included provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to advance mineral production.
“This is a view towards understanding the domestic mapping of our mineral resources, demonstration projects for rare earth element facilities, battery processing manufacturing grants, as well as grants for advanced manufacturing and recycling,” she notes.
It is not just about vehicles, one of the priority minerals on the government’s list is magnesium, which is used for crop fertilizer and animal health supplements.