On April 8, 2022, Tyler Welti was quoted in Greenwire on President Biden’s deployment of the Defense Production Act to liberate funding for fledgling mining projects across the country that one day could produce five minerals crucial in the manufacture of electric car batteries — lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and manganese.
According to the article, Biden’s order is expected to open a fire hose of Defense Department funds for activities typically required to build a mine, like feasibility studies — an investment that was celebrated by mining industry officials last week. But companies receiving those funds won’t see special permitting benefits to further aid development of their projects, a fact that mining industry players said will constrain the benefits of investing government funds.
Welti acknowledged that the Biden administration’s Defense Production Act order could inject enough capital into the industry on its own that it could lay some groundwork for growth. “It will subsidize and facilitate mining for at least these five metals that have been deemed essential to national security,” Welti said. “The funding reduces the financial risk of a project and enables projects to proceed.”
However, Welti also noted that Biden’s mining money will likely be limited by the regulatory state. “The Defense Production Act facilitates the financial side,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily facilitate the environmental review and permitting side of implementing a project.”