Biden Invokes Cold War Statute to Boost Critical Mineral Supply

The United States imported more than half of its supply of at least 46 minerals in 2020, and all of its supply of 17 of them, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Many of the materials come from China, which leads the world in lithium ion battery manufacturing and has been known to shut off exports of certain products in times of political tensions, including rare earth minerals.

The Biden administration has warned that a dependence on foreign materials poses a threat to America’s security, and promised to expand domestic supplies of semiconductors, batteries and pharmaceuticals, among other goods. While the United States does have some unexplored deposits of nickel, cobalt and other crucial minerals, developing mines and processing sites can take many years.

But bipartisan support for expanding American mining and processing of battery components has grown in recent years. In a March 11 letter to Mr. Biden, senators including Lisa Murkowski, a…

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