US lawmakers are backing draft legislation aimed at cutting the country’s “damaging” dependence on imports of materials, including those “critical” to expanding battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) technology.
A bipartisan group of senators say the American Mineral Security Act is needed to help reduce reliance on countries such as China.
The move follows the introduction of separate bipartisan draft legislation to “expand clean battery energy storage” and promote better understanding of storage technologies.
Republican senator Lisa Murkowski (pictured)— who is backing the mineral security bill with fellow Republicans Martha McSally, Dan Sullivan and Democrat Joe Manchin— said: “Our bill takes steps that are long overdue to reverse our damaging foreign dependence and position ourselves to compete in growth industries like electric vehicles and energy storage.”
“Our nation’s mineral security is a significant, urgent, and often ignored challenge,” said Murkowski, who chairs the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “Our reliance on China and other nations for critical minerals costs us jobs, weakens our economic competitiveness, and leaves us at a geopolitical disadvantage.”
The bill proposes “nationwide resource assessments be conducted for every critical mineral” and would require the federal government, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation to conduct a study of the nation’s minerals workforce. The bill, if enacted, would also authorise research and development for “recycling and replacements for critical minerals, as well as chemistry, material science, and applied R&D for processing of critical minerals”.
According to a report published last year by the Department of the Interior, the US currently imports some 35 critical minerals deemed as “vital to the nation’s security and economic prosperity” including cobalt, lithium and vanadium. Click here for a link to the report.