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November Discussion
Ongoing Discussion
In week two of our discussion on critical minerals for clean energy technologies , OEP experts discussed China's rare earths dominance , global lithium supply, and mineral recycling (see comments below).

Beyond OEP, RealClearPolitics and the National Mining Association held two panel events and a conversation with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in Washington, D.C. about the United States' mineral import-dependence, and its implications. Check out the event recording for "Minerals:The Overlooked Foundation of Our Future" and #MineralsRCP on Twitter for highlights. In addition, the Atlantic Council is holding an event later today on a U.S.-Australia partnership to diversify the critical minerals value chain.
" Lithium isn’t a bottleneck... Since 2010 and now, quite a bit of exploration for lithium has been undertaken all over the world. Lithium also isn’t the major cost determinant of the battery, so the price of lithium chemicals aren’t the biggest impact on vehicle electrification. Looking only at the minerals in the cathode, the biggest bottleneck is the cobalt. I would be curious from a geologist’s standpoint what the medium and long term supply constraints are...." - Emily Hersh , DCDB Group
"Why is there not a single word about recycling these critical minerals in any of the discussion thus far? Why is not better to 'mine' recycled batteries for lithium and other pieces of decommissioned or obsolete equipment for rare earth elements, etc.? Those elements exist within our own waste streams, and the energy required to separate and purify them is likely to be an order of magnitude less than to mine virgin minerals... ." - Bruce Dale , Michigan State University
Reply to Dr. Dale: "We have not yet reached a critical mass of batteries to make recycling economically feasible. When there are EVs that have been on the road for about 8 years, there will be enough feedstock to start recovering. Planning must happen today to make that feedstock accessible and available, but from the business standpoint the limitation is purely scale." - Emily Hersh , DCDB Group
  1. What do you see as the best way to address our dependence on foreign sources for these critical minerals?
  2. To what extent does the supply chain security risks of these minerals represent a barrier to climate change targets or goals?
  3. What are the key points across each supply chain for critical minerals where policy interventions are required?
This is our featured discussion for the month of November. Read more about the change to the frequency of our discussions and other updates in our October 2 newsletter .
New Publications
 National Council for Science
and the Environment
November 19, 2019
Research Service
October 30, 2019
Find these new publications and others in the OurEnergyLibrary.
Podcast Spotlight

The Global Lithium Podcast features episodes on wide-ranging facets of the global industry for lithium, and is hosted by Joe Lowry (aka "Mr. Lithium") and Emily Sarah Hersch. Joe is the founder of Global Lithium LLC, an advisory firm serving lithium producers, purchasers, investors, and governments on five continents. Emily is Managing Partner of DCDB research, where she manages South America projects for companies in the mining, energy, oil, and gas industries.

In this 46th episode , J oe and Emily sit down with Daniel Jimenez , a lithium industry veteran since 1999 to discuss his life spent in lithium. The three get into the context of the high-profile feud between Corfo and lithium companies regarding moving up the value chain in Chile. They talk about lithium and EV markets, and the cultural differences between the big battery countries.
Update from Congress

New Legislation
  • Thurs, Nov 14 - Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT-At-Large) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the GREENER Fuels Act (Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible Fuels Act) companion bills in the House (H.R. 5113) and Senate. It is meant to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard.


Many of these critical minerals are used in energy technologies. Gallium, indium, and tellurium are used for solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar panels, rare earth elements are used in permanent magnets used for wind energy, and graphite and vanadium are used in battery storage technology. (Read more about these in a September 2019 memorandum from the Congressional Research Service.)
Featured Events
Anaheim, California
  • When: Tues-Thurs, Nov 19-21
  • Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802

Washington, D.C.
  • When: Wed, Nov 20, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Where: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

  • When: Thurs, Nov 21, 6-8 p.m.
  • Where: Local 16, 1602 "U" Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

  • When: Thurs, Nov 21, 9-10 a.m.
  • Where: Resources & Conservation Center, 1400 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 and livestream
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