LONDON (Reuters) – The United States’ $1 trillion infrastructure package is undoubtedly good news for industrial metals. More money for upgrading highways, railways and power grid systems will mean more demand for steel, copper and aluminium.
But when it comes to battery metals and critical minerals, the bipartisan bill is as much about boosting domestic supply as demand.
A total $6 billion is earmarked for battery materials processing and manufacturing projects with another $140 million allocated for a rare earths demonstration plant, part of a broader investment drive across the full length of the metallic supply chain.
The Biden Administration understands that without investing in domestic critical metals production capacity, it will struggle to deliver on its dual commitments to build back greener and “Buy American” while doing so.
The United States’ reliance on imports of rare earth compounds remains almost total with 80% of shipments coming from China last year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).