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Sec. Granholm, DoE Embrace Domestic EV Mineral Production “So Long As It Is Done Sustainably”

With the “battery arms race” turbocharged by the coronavirus pandemic, observers are concerned that Lithium ion batteries could become “geopolitical hot potatoes.”

In light of these developments, the latest statements from newly-confirmed Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, coupled with the recently-signed executive order on strengthening U.S. supply chains, are encouraging indications that the new Administration is taking the critical minerals challenge seriously.

“We’re going to double down on our R&D in the technologies that will make EVs easier to manufacture, easier to deploy, easier for the American people to access,” the secretary said earlier this week during a webinar hosted by Securing America’s Future Energy.

The secretary not only highlighted the department’s intention to invest billions of dollars in technologies that will speed the adoption of EVs as part of the Biden Administration’s clean energy agenda, but also called for boosting domestic production of the minerals underpinning EV technology — so long as it is done sustainably.

Arguing that “[m] any parts of the country are sitting on top of the materials that we need to produce battery technologies,” Granholm stated that there would be “huge demand” for a sustainable mining process that extracted and refined minerals in the United States, reports Reuters.

Having acknowledged the shift towards green energy, the industry, harnessing advances in materials science and technology, has increasingly embraced these kind of processes in the effort to strike a balance between mining and greater environmental protections.

Over the course of the past few months, we have outlined several initiatives by mining companies to “close the loop,” ranging from overhauling supply chain policies to ensure suppliers conform to certain environmental and social standards, to incorporating renewable power sources into their operations to offset some of the carbon costs of resource development. (Take a look here and here)

As the Department of Energy and the private sector continue their quest to “sustainably greening the future” we look forward to featuring more public private partnerships between DoE and the mining industry, as well as closed loop initiatives within the mining sector itself.