For good or for ill, metals are the new oil. We need more “rare earths” and “everyday earths” to build the technologies of the future and make real a carbon transition. The geopolitics around mines, minerals, and the processing of metals are heating up. For that reason, the U.S. needs a more sophisticated strategy to ensure that the U.S. and our allies have access to mines and minerals.
The amount of minerals needed for a carbon transition will require a vast expansion of mining and the processing of minerals. For example, given current technologies and techniques, we will need to increase the production of cobalt and lithium by 40 times for the electric batteries needed to move from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.