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New US legislation would aid domestic mining of electric vehicle materials

A US senator is about to introduce legislation which looks to boost the domestic mining of materials like lithium and graphite for electric vehicles, according to a report.

US Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told Reuters she will introduce the Minerals Security Act on Thursday, along with Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. The act aims to streamline regulation and permitting requirements for mines that can produce EV supply chain materials.

A meeting today on the matter included speakers from Tesla, the US State and Energy departments, and a number of companies that hope to develop lithium mines domestically.

The meeting has been planned for sometime — a report from early April noted the US was looking to develop its own national supply chain for electric vehicle materials, and would meet with automakers and battery manufacturers.

The new report stresses concerns with falling further behind China when it comes to developing an EV supply chain. China produces roughly two-thirds of all lithium-ion batteries and controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities, as well. Murkowski continued,

From a national security perspective, when you are vulnerable, as the United States is and many of our friends and allies are, on a resource that you need, that is a weakness. We don’t want that weakness to be exposed.

France and Germany

The US isn’t alone in seeking more control in EV production. France and Germany announced an alliance today to develop EV batteries, with both countries planning to invest a combined 5-6 billion euros ($5.6 to $6.7 billion), according to France 24.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire alluded to not just China in his comments, but the US as well. Le Maire said the alliance “shows Europe is not fated to depend on technological imports from the two powers that are the United States and China.”

Le Maire said other EU countries may enter the venture. Italy, Belgium, Poland, Austria and Finland have already shown interest in the project.

German finance minister Peter Altmaier wants the EU to supply 30 percent of global battery demand by 2030.

Electrek’s Take

The race is on. As China takes a firm grip on the EV market, others seem to be waking up. They’re also probably hoping it’s not too late to grab a piece of a growing pie — the global EV market.

While China’s control of the EV supply chain is a factor in its commanding lead in the market, it’s far from the only reason for its dominance. China has policies which ensure carmakers dedicate a percentage of their fleets to electric vehicles, and the country’s domestic EV market is booming, as well. It’s all tied together, and other countries should also consider these factors when looking to boost EV growth.

Accelerating local production of the minerals needed for the production of batteries is one small piece of the puzzle, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: