U.S. lawmakers have moved forward on plans to develop a national electric vehicle supply chain policy, Reuters reports.
The pending legislation would require a tally of metal reserves in the country and will aim to streamline permitting for the electric vehicles sector. Officials in the Trump Administration have already voiced support for the pending legislation.
Reuters reports that the State's Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the American Mineral Security Act, which would help form regulation and permitting requirements for the development of mines for lithium, graphite and other electric vehicle materials.
It is unclear how much minerals are used to make electric vehicles as there has been little research done in the subject. In order to find out the mineral composition of particular regions would be timely and expensive. If a legislation would pass, it would require a nationwide analysis for all minerals used to make electric vehicles.
According to USGS data, the U.S. has 35,000 tonnes of lithium in reserve, which is considered to be a small amount. Reuters reports that a lithium mine, Abemarle Corp., is able to produce around 6,000 tonnes annually, meaning that one mine could deplete U.S. reserves within six years. Reuters reports that there are currently several lithium projects under development across the nation that will produce at least 20,000 tonnes of lithium per year.
Meanwhile, there are concerns of the lack of U.S. processing facilities as China controls about 85 percent of the globe's cobalt sulfate processing. Though, the U.S. does have some processing capability.
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