While Westerners have been severely restricted from visiting China during the Covid epidemic, new regulations allow a few visitors. Reports from a recent US visitor to China indicate that the roads are filled with electric vehicles. China is surely ahead in the manufacture of EVs. China is a true leader in this regard and will remain a strong player in the market.
Can the US catch up? Can the US auto industry dominate the EV market? The auto industry is the engine of the US economy and to have a strong economy, the US must dominate the auto industry.
Rare earth minerals and lithium as markets currently dominated by China can be initiated in the US. The rare earth materials are simple tailings from iron ore mining. It is the cost of separation of the minerals, and processing, that has put the US behind, not a lack of mineral resources. Technology can solve the problem.
On the south flank of the Clark Mountain Range in California Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine and Processing Facility, owned by MP Materials, an open-pit mine of rare-earth elements supplied 15.8% of the world's rare-earth production in 2020. It and several other companies are ramping up rare-earth mining and processing facilities in the United States. Rare earth minerals are not rare at all, they are just expensive to separate out from a pile of leftover dirt from iron ore mining operations.
A similar story is true for lithium. In Ogden, Utah Compass Minerals identified 2.4 million metric tons of lithium resources. The company has a lithium carbonate solar evaporation site. It has initiated a 1,000 metric ton battery-grade lithium carbonate facility for phase one. For phase two, it intends to build a 28,000 metric ton battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate facility. Once fully operational, annual production capacity is anticipated to be 35,000 metric tons. This is only one company in the US. There are many more US companies with similar plans for mining and refining lithium.
The subscription includes a choice of 7 studies on this topic from a selection of 12 studies including full studies of EVs, solid-state batteries, lithium markets, and rare earth markets.
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