During last week’s Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on President Joe Biden’s FY 2022 budget request for the Department of Energy, Senators questioned Secretary Jennifer Granholm on the Department’s view on the role of critical minerals in energy production.
Watch the archived webcast here.
Sec. Granholm stated that critical minerals are “part and parcel of how we are going to be able to electrify the electric vehicle supply, it is part and parcel of making sure that we have the means to [support] the full stream of technology products for clean energy,” domestically.
While stressing the need for recycling and substitution, when pressed by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana), Sec. Granholm expressly rejected the notion of an “anti-mining,” “anti natural resource development” sentiment in the Biden Administration.
She pointed to page 18 of the just-released National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, which stipulates “[s]ecure access to raw and refined materials and discover alternatives for critical minerals for commercial and defense applications” as the number one goal and lists the following near-term objectives:
- Work with partners and allies to establish reliable sources and supplies of key raw materials for batteries, including critical minerals, both domestic and international
- Increase U.S. safe and sustainable production capacity of critical battery minerals (lithium, nickel, and cobalt) by supporting R&D and mining efforts
- Develop federal policies to support the establishment of resilient domestic and global sources and supplies of key raw materials
Calling DOE’s approach a “wrap-around strategy” that includes recycling and substitution, as well as mining, she said:
“This is the United States. We can mine in a responsible way. And many places are doing it. And there are some places where there are more challenges, but we can do this.”
It’s a welcome affirmation of the comprehensive “all of the above” approach ARPN and many others have been calling for, in keeping with the objectives the Biden Administration has embraced in its just-released 100-Day Supply Chain Report.
As Secretary Granholm rightfully says, mining (and processing for that matter) can be done — and is being done — in a sustainable and responsible way in the U.S. APRN will be highlighting some of the more recent efforts undertaken by industry to support the green energy transition in forthcoming posts.