Congress handed the most important funding in U.S. infrastructure in over 70 years. The invoice accommodates funding for main infrastructure tasks from roads and bridges, transit and rail, ports and waterways to the electrification of the transportation system, modernization of the electrical grid, and enlargement of our nation’s broadband networks.
Nonetheless, this historic funding in America’s future comes amidst an ongoing provide chain disaster and an exponential improve in demand for minerals and metals wanted to energy the longer term. That is coupled with systemic challenges plaguing U.S. mining – allowing delays and ongoing makes an attempt to advance punitive or overly-broad updates to the overall mining legislation that may solely disincentivize investments and make the U.S. extra reliant on imported minerals and metals.
The U.S. is at a mining crossroads. Mineral demand is hovering, however our insurance policies are lagging. We have to encourage extra home mining to satisfy future demand and make sure that the supplies required as a part of our infrastructure enhancements are available. Our nation’s transportation electrification targets are an ideal instance of the indispensable position minerals play in securing our future. The variety of U.S. based mostly battery vegetation is rising exponentially however the domestically accessible minerals these operations want for manufacturing stays stagnant.
A brand new examine by the Atlantic Council, The Role of Minerals in US Transportation Electrification Goals, reveals how the pursuit of deploying electrical autos (EVs) at scale within the U.S. market will speed up home demand for related minerals like cobalt, lithium, nickel, copper and uncommon earth parts – important for EV batteries, drive practice and automobile elements, in addition to charging infrastructure.
“Because the transport sector in america quickly electrifies, the uncertainty surrounding the capability of the present provide chain to satisfy the mineral depth of an electrified future has led stakeholders throughout america to discover doable hedges or mitigation methods to restrict their publicity.”
Reed Blakemore, Atlantic Council
The report echoes the findings of different main stories from the Wilson Center, Wood Mackenzie, the World Bank and the International Energy Agency (IEA), which define staggering demand will increase which can be more likely to outplace the accessible minerals provide. Because the IEA warned, this might lead to worth hikes for commodities, impeding the deployment of superior power applied sciences and associated efforts to handle local weather change.
To deal with these challenges, the U.S. wants a comprehensive minerals strategy. This implies the U.S. should encourage extra home mining to satisfy rising calls for and safe our nation’s provide chains for minerals and metals utilizing our huge assets beneath world-leading environmental, security and labor requirements. That may require a extra environment friendly mine allowing course of and federal insurance policies that assist U.S. mining, not discourage it.
“The Biden administration particularly can be clever to think about rigorously the way it can embed minerals-minded insurance policies into its technique for transportation electrification.”
Reed Blakemore, Atlantic Council
It additionally means we should strengthen our connections with allies all over the world to make sure we now have dependable sources of minerals and metals accessible as we spend money on modernizing our infrastructure and electrifying our transportation networks and fleets.
The U.S. needs to be a worldwide chief in minerals mining. Our infrastructure and power future calls for it. However with out these modifications, we’ll face ongoing provide chain crises and rising prices for important inputs.