By Kirk Anderson, NEMA Industry Director
Critical minerals underpin much of America’s economic security. There are 35 such minerals, including lithium, aluminum, and the 17 Rare Earth Elements. Critical minerals are used throughout the electroindustry to enable and power new technologies, such as electric vehicles, but they are vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.
Since these minerals are increasingly used in Member products and are at growing risk of supply chain disruption, NEMA has launched the Critical Minerals Council.
Critical minerals supply chains have also recently attracted Federal attention and action. In 2017, Executive Order (EO) 13817 led to a regulation prohibiting the Department of Defense (DoD) from purchasing equipment made with four minerals when sourced from four countries, including China. In 2020, another EO was issued to address the “threat posed by our nation’s undue reliance on [foreign-sourced] critical minerals,” and labeled China as an “adversarial nation.”
The Biden administration has continued this work by issuing EO 14017 “America’s Supply Chains”. This new EO instructs designated federal agencies to review and report on supply chains’ status for critical minerals. Furthermore, dozens of bills are pending in Congress to identify, explore, and promote increased domestic production of critical minerals to lessen the risk of supply chain disruption.
“The language in these executive orders and bills is unmistakable,” said NEMA Vice President of Government Relations Phil Squair. “While in the past we focused on electricity supply and efficiency regulations, our future will center on critical minerals sourcing and supply chain resiliency. NEMA will have a seat at the table, ensuring federal and state agencies consider manufacturers’ needs when promulgating new legislation or regulations.”
“The Council’s mission is to ensure that the electroindustry has a reliable supply of critical minerals required to develop innovative new technologies,” said Patrick E. Hughes, NEMA Vice President of Operations and Strategy. “The Council will explore ways that industry can promote supply chain transparency and encourage new sources, which will result in greater availability and geographic diversity for critical minerals.”
To learn more about the Council or to join, contact Kirk Anderson.