Dependance on lithium mining in America to qualify for subsidies, will further negatively impact the lithium supply chain for batteries and stagnate the mandated transition to EV’s.
After his mandate to transition to EV’s, President Joe Biden then signed The Inflation Reduction
Act (IRA) that requires EVs to contain a battery pack and other parts built in North America with
minerals mined or recycled in America. With the chance of strip mining for lithium in America
being slim to nil, no EV’s will qualify for the tax credits in the IRA.
Biden’s goal of 50 percent EV sales by 2030 will test lithium supply chains and the economic
strength of the American society to meet those projections without any subsidies to procure those
While the race is on to produce more lithium in the United States as the supply chain for the
major component of EV batteries, lithium, is already being compromised internationally. The
following international dark clouds on the lithium supply chain may be a prelude to an American
rejection of strip mining in the most environmentally regulated and controlled communities in
A proposal by the European Chemicals Agency's (ECHA) risk assessment committee is
aimed at labeling three lithium compounds as dangerous for human health. The
compounds include lithium carbonate, chloride, and hydroxide. The final decision is
expected to be made in late 2022 or early 2023.
Earlier in 2022, Chinese EV giant BYD Co. won a government contract to mine lithium
in Salar de Atacama, Chile – a huge chunk of terrain that holds 55 percent of the world’s
known deposits of lithium. But before the company could tap into that
resource, indigenous residents took to the streets and demanded the tender to be canceled
over concerns about the impact on local water supplies. In June, the Chilean Supreme
Court threw out the award, saying the government failed to consult with indigenous
people first. In America, we call these local and environmentalist folks, NIMBY’s (Not-
Initiatives to open mines and ore processing plants such as the ones
in Serbia and Portugal have caused a public uproar as environmentalists and the local
population are fearful about the impact on nature and people’s livelihoods. In other
projects, engineers are trying to make the extraction of lithium from geothermal
waters cost effective and harmless, without any mining. Currently, Portugal has called
off a lithium project amid EU’s scramble for battery materials.
Due to potential fires, the FAA prohibites in checked baggage, spare (uninstalled) lithium metal
batteries and lithium-ion batteries, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. They must be carried
with the passenger in carry-on baggage. Smoke and fire incidents involving lithium batteries can
be mitigated by the cabin crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Since you’ve probably read about EV fires, here’s a site that keeps tabs just on the TESLA EV fires
https://www.tesla-fire.com/, Tesla Fires as of 8/19/2022 were 97 confirmed cases and Fatalities
Involving a Tesla Car Fire Count were 38. Shockingly, while the Feds are banning lithium
batteries in checked luggage on planes due to potential fires, Biden is pushing them for vehicles.
Amid tougher emissions regulations worldwide, established automakers are racing to add more
EVs to their lineup. A Reuters analysis found that global automakers such as Audi, BMW,
Hyundai, Fiat, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Daimler, and Chrysler plan to spend a
combined U.S. $300 billion on EVs over the next decade as car companies are betting big on
EV’s. Most of the EV’s will be manufactured in foreign countries far removed from American
China came from zero production in 1950, to 2019 where it now produces more cars than the
USA, Japan, and India collectively. The 6-minute video of the automobile manufacturing
“needle” shows how the foreign manufacturing dominance occurred over the that 69-year
With potential fires from EV batteries in vehicles, who’s going to take the insurance
responsibility for their safe passage from the foreign manufacturers to American ports, the cargo
ships, or the manufacturers?
How dirty is lithium strip mining? Since the mineral contains dangerous substances, the mining
process also contaminates the local water basins. Lithium extraction exposes the local
ecosystems to poisoning and other related health problems. How many Americans want strip
mining for lithium in their backyard to view the environmental degradation from leach fields
which are part of the extraction efforts?
The number of electric cars on the world’s roads at the end of 2021 was about 16.5 million, or
just slightly more than one percent of the 1.4 billion vehicles in the world. With lithium
production being setback internationally, EV growth will be hindered as locals’ revolt over
lithium mining impacts on water supplies and environmental degradation in their communities.
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--By Ronald Stein Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy