US President Joe Biden will invoke the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost the domestic supply of key minerals for electric vehicles (EV) and large capacity batteries.
The Korean War era powers will be used to ramp up lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese supplies – with an announcement expected over the next week.
The White House wants to reduce the country’s dependence on overseas energy amid market volatility and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Under the terms of the DPA, the government can compel companies to prioritise government contracts over private deals.
It also allows the state to order industries to send equipment to certain areas ahead of others, and provide loans and grants to encourage specific forms of manufacturing.
Commodity prices have boomed this year amid fears of supply shortages and rebounding post-pandemic demand across developed economies.
The breakthrough of the EVs into the mainstream car market has also been a key factor in rising prices.
Sources told The Financial Times the administration was not contemplating making direct purchases of the minerals.
Instead, it would aim to make government funding available for feasibility studies, production at existing operations, and safety upgrades.
They also revealed d triggering the DPA would not allow mining companies to bypass or expedite any permitting or environmental review processes
.Previously, the DPA was used by former president Donald Trump to boost the production of coronavirus-related medical supplies during the pandemic.