Biden awarded $2.8 billion to increase production of US minerals for EV batteries


WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The Biden administration said on Wednesday it is providing $2.8 billion in grants to boost U.S. production of electric car batteries and the minerals used to make them.

Albemarle Corp ( ALB.N ) is among 20 manufacturing and processing companies awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to mine lithium, graphite and nickel across the country, build the first large-scale lithium refinery in the U.S., build facilities to build cathodes and other battery components, and expand battery recycling.

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

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“As the world transitions from a fossil fuel to a clean energy economy, we cannot turn dependence on oil from autocrats like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin into dependence on critical minerals from China,” he told reporters about the program. .

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

The funds are allocated to a range of companies, some of which may finance the projects themselves, while others will see the grants as financial assistance to further expand their US plans. The funding does nothing to ease the permitting problems faced by some in the mining industry.

Albemarle is set to receive $149.7 million to build a facility to lightly process lithium-bearing rock from a mine it is trying to reopen in North Carolina. That facility will then feed a separate plant in the southeastern United States, and the company said in June it will produce as much lithium for electric batteries as the entire company produces today.

Albemarle, which also produces lithium in Australia and Chile, said the grant would “speed up lithium processing and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transporting raw minerals over long distances.”

Piedmont Lithium Inc ( PLL.O ) is getting $141.7 million to build its own lithium refinery in Tennessee, where the company will initially process metal from Quebec and Ghana. Piedmont’s plans to build a lithium mine in North Carolina have faced strong opposition.

Piedmont shares rose 7.5% on Wednesday after Reuters reported the financial award. Piedmont did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Talon Metals Corp ( TLO.TO ) will receive $114.8 million to build a refinery in North Dakota, in a strategy shift for the company that has a nickel supply contract with Tesla Inc ( TSLA.O ). Talon now aims to extract rock from a planned underground mine in Minnesota and ship it to a North Dakota processing facility that will be funded in part by the grant.

Talon said the grants “are a clear acknowledgment that the production of domestic nickel and other battery minerals is a national priority.”

Other grants include $316.2 million to private company Ascend Elements to build a battery parts plant, $50 million to private company Lilac Solutions Inc. for a demonstration plant for direct lithium extraction technologies, and $75 million to private company Cirba Solutions for expansion. $219.8 million to Syrah Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Syrah Resources Ltd ( SYR.AX ), to expand an Ohio battery recycling plant and a graphite refinery in Louisiana.

BIDEN’S GOAL

By 2030, President Joe Biden wants 50% of all new cars sold in the United States to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models, along with 500,000 new electric charging stations. He did not support phasing out sales of new gasoline vehicles by 2030.

The legislation, signed in August, sets resource requirements for Biden’s new strict battery component and $7,500 in consumer EV tax credits. A separate $1 trillion infrastructure law signed into law in November 2021 provides $7 billion to ensure US manufacturers have access to critical minerals and other essential components to make batteries. Wednesday’s announcement was linked to the 2021 legislation.

The White House said in a fact sheet that the United States and its allies do not produce enough of the critical minerals and materials used in EV batteries.

“China currently controls much of the critical mineral supply chain, and the lack of U.S. mining, processing, and recycling capacity could hinder the development and adoption of electric vehicles and leave the U.S. 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 EV batteries.

Also called the American Battery Materials Initiative, the White House is pushing to strengthen critical mineral supply chains as automakers race to expand electric vehicle and battery production in the United States.

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Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Ernest Scheider in Houston; Additional reporting by Nandita Bose; Edited by Bernadette Baum, Matthew Lewis, and Paul Simao

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Ernest Shader

Thomson Reuters

Lithium, copper, cobalt, rare earths and other minerals, politics, politics, etc. with a focus on the future of energy and transportation, including the electric vehicle and battery technology. Previously covered oil and natural gas, including a stint living in the North. Dakota’s Bakken shale oil patch.



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