President Biden was set to meet with administration officials and industry partners today to announce new investments in the domestic production of critical minerals and materials, which are crucial to many modern technologies.
Minerals such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt, can be found in computers, household appliances, and smartphones. These minerals are also crucial to clean energy technologies, as they are found in batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.
According to a White House fact sheet, President Biden was set to announce $35 million in funding from the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program to contract with MP Materials to separate and process heavy rare earth elements at its facility in Mountain Pass, Calif.
Additionally, MP Materials will announce it will invest another $700 million and create more than 350 jobs in the magnet supply chain by 2024, according to the White House.
The investments come a year after President Biden issued an executive order instructing Federal agencies to conduct year-long reviews of their supply chain and industrial base risks. A subsequent supply chain assessment found an “over-reliance on foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals and materials posed national and economic security threats,” the White House said.
The Department of Interior (DoI) also announced today it has established an Interagency Working Group that “will lead an administration effort on legislative and regulatory reform of mine permitting and oversight.” DoI will also update and prioritize the Federal list of critical minerals.