OPINION: Critical Mineral Contradictions – by the Editorial Board (Wall Street Journal – April 3, 2022)


Does Biden know that his own regulators are blocking mine projects?

The contradictions of White House energy policy keep piling up. In the latest example, President Biden on Thursday invoked the Defense Production Act to subsidize the mining of certain minerals in the U.S. that his own Administration is using regulation to block. Weird, right?

As Mr. Biden notes, government climate policies are driving up demand for critical minerals. An electric car includes huge amounts of graphite (66.3 kg), copper (53.2), nickel (39.9), manganese (24.5), cobalt (13.3) and lithium (8.9). Conventional cars require far less—22.3 kg of copper and 11.2 of manganese. Solar and wind also require more of such minerals than do fossil-fuel plants.

Global production isn’t keeping pace with demand, and most mining is done in countries with low environmental and labor standards. Some of these countries aren’t friends of the U.S. and aim to leverage their resources for political advantage.

China restricted exports of rare-earth minerals to Japan during a standoff over the Senkaku Islands in 2010. Beijing has also encouraged investment in foreign mining projects as part of its Belt and Road initiative to lock up critical minerals.

For the rest of this editorial: https://www.wsj.com/articles/critical-mineral-green-energy-climate-change-electric-cars-biden-mining-zinc-lithium-copper-china-pollution-endangered-species-defense-production-act-11648850666