“Our concern is that critical minerals could be vulnerable to manipulation, as we’ve seen in other areas, or weaponization,” Granholm said Wednesday in a meeting in Sydney with companies including BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group and Lynas Corp. “We are very serious about establishing strong relationships with Australia, and with you and with your potential customers for offtake.”
Producers in nations including Australia can also access support through agencies including the Department of Energy’s loan programs office, Granholm said at the Wednesday meeting.
China accounts for almost three-quarters of manufacturing capacity for lithium-ion batteries needed for electric vehicles and renewables energy storage, and dominates steps throughout the supply chain, including the processing of a suite of key metals. The nation is also the world’s dominant supplier of solar power equipment, and is seeking to build out its market share in the emerging clean hydrogen sector.
Syrah Resources Ltd., a Melbourne-based graphite producer with facilities in Mozambique and Louisiana, in April won a $107 million commitment from the loan programs office. Rare earths producer Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. in June signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to establish a plant in Texas.
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