INSIDESOURCES: The Biden Jobs Plan Must Be Built from the Mine Up
April 14, 2021
Opinion Editorial by Rich Nolan, president and CEO of National Mining Association
President Joe Biden is right: the state of U.S. infrastructure is a catastrophe and it cries out for bold action. The heart of his jobs plan, aimed at rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure and reshoring its industrial base, is the ambition we should hold ourselves to. But it’s a plan and ambition with the potential to fall far short if we don’t recognize and elevate the importance of American-produced raw materials to make it a reality.
Incomplete infrastructure plans that prioritize new bridges and roads, electric vehicle (EV) charging networks, or a new electricity grid, but relegate mineral and metal production to a second-tier are bound to collide with an alarming reality: failure to make mining policy infrastructure policy, energy policy, and jobs policy could very well derail these key initiatives, further weaken the nation’s economic and national security, and play right into China’s hands.
The energy transition alone is poised to create exponential demand growth for minerals and metals stretching the full breadth of the periodic table. The European Commission recently concluded that meeting Europe’s EV deployment goals for 2030 will require a supply of lithium 18 times larger than what is required today. By 2050, Europe’s lithium demand could increase 60-fold from current levels. This is just in the E.U.
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