Boost for battery metals as Biden tells miners he would support supply chain development

Joe Biden

IN a fillip for mining firms, US presidential candidate Joe Biden has come out in favour of boosting domestic production of metals used to make electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels and other products critical to his climate plan, said Reuters citing sources close to the Biden campaign.

Biden was expected to continue in a similar vein to the Obama administration which enacted rigorous environmental regulations that slowed US mining growth, said Reuters. President Trump has taken steps to develop the sector.

In private consultation with the country’s mining sector, Biden also said he supported bipartisan efforts to foster a domestic supply chain for lithium, copper, rare earths, nickel and other strategic materials that the US imports from China and other countries.

The concern for the US is the stranglehold China has taken over the primary production of metals that supply EVs, windfarms, as well as cell phones, weapons and other high-tech equipment.

In a sign that miners are betting on a friendly reception from Biden, executives at Glencore Plc, which controls PolyMet Mining Corporation, view its Minnesota copper mine project as a long-term investment and have no plans to scale back if Biden wins.

The project had been considered one that could have been hurt in a Biden administration that mirrored Obama’s environmental stance, said Reuters.

Sibanye-Stillwater, the South African gold and platinum group metals producer, has signalled its interest in investing in battery metals production, saying it preferred its next major investment to be in the US.

“A Biden administration would emphasise green energy, and in order to get more solar panels, you need more raw materials,” said one of the sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “These materials don’t come out of a test tube.”

Biden has said he plans to spend $2 trillion on EV infrastructure and other green projects should he win.