Jonathan Evans, head of Canada’s biggest lithium company, is hopeful that U.S. efforts to ignite domestic critical-minerals production will help fill the gap in private-sector lithium investment, as he searches for a partner to build a major new mine in Nevada.
U.S. President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act this week, which opens up the spigot further on the already extensive U.S. government funding for critical-minerals industries, including lithium.
“It’s a pretty big statement,” said Mr. Evans, CEO of Lithium Americas Corp. “And I’m not quite sure what more the government can do.” Both the United States and Canada have been trying to wean themselves off Chinese supplies of critical minerals and boost their own fledgling industries.
China is among the biggest miners of lithium, a key component in electric-vehicle batteries, and has a 60-per-cent share in refining. There are currently no lithium mines in Canada, and only one in the United States, the Silver Peak mine in Nevada, operated by Albemarle.
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