Biden to use Korean war-era powers to boost supply of EV battery minerals

US president Joe Biden will invoke Korean war-era powers to boost the domestic supply of minerals crucial for electric vehicles and large capacity batteries, as his administration tries to reduce its dependence on overseas energy.

Biden will use a presidential determination as soon as this week to invoke the Defense Production Act to help increase the availability of lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese in the US.

Under the terms of the DPA, an administration can compel companies to prioritise government contracts over private ones, send equipment to certain areas ahead of others, and provide loans and grants to encourage certain forms of manufacturing.

A person familiar with the White House’s plans said the administration was not contemplating making direct purchases of the minerals, but would aim to make government funding available for feasibility studies, production at existing operations, and safety upgrades.

The person said triggering the DPA would not allow mining companies to bypass or expedite any permitting or environmental review processes.

The DPA was invoked by former president Donald Trump to boost the production of coronavirus-related medical supplies during the height of the pandemic.

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