The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced a $32m investment to develop facilities to produce rare earth elements and other critical minerals and materials from domestic coal-based resources.
Provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the funding forms part of the country’s efforts to strengthen its critical minerals supply chain, which is said to be critical to its economy, clean energy and national security while reducing reliance on foreign sources.
Currently, the US imports more than 80% of its rare earth elements.
The funding will be used to advance domestic manufacturing, support the development of clean energy technologies from coal and coal byproducts, and create jobs.
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm said: “President Biden’s ‘Investing in America’ agenda is providing a historic opportunity to convert coal products into the critical materials needed to build an array of clean energy products.
“The president’s transformative investments will strengthen our national security by lessening our dependence on international supply chains while delivering high-quality jobs and healthier communities for all Americans.”
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The programme will support the research, development and demonstration projects for domestic production and refining of rare earth elements and other critical minerals across the country.
Rare earth elements and other critical minerals are used in the manufacturing of clean energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells.
Separately, the US Geological Survey, in partnership with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, has announced an investment of more than $1.9m to map critical mineral resources in Montana.
Most of the funding will come from an investment from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resources Initiative.