By Eric Onstad
LONDON (Reuters) – The United States and partners are working on 15 projects to secure supplies of critical minerals needed for electric vehicles and the energy transition, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
The Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) formed last year by 14 governments aims to ensure adequate supplies of minerals such as lithium and rare earths to meet zero-carbon goals.
“We’re now looking at 15 projects on five continents, ranging from extraction to processing,” Jose Fernandez, U.S. State Department under secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, told a briefing in London.
“It’s our intent is to get some deals done in the next few months.”
He declined to give details about the companies involved but said at least one of the projects is in Britain.
The MSP, co-hosted by Britain, will meet next week during the London Metal Exchange (LME) Week industry gathering, he added.
The MSP aims to facilitate deals among private companies and help with financing, including by trade banks such as the U.S. government’s Export-Import Bank (EXIM), Fernandez said.
The other members of the MSP are the European Union, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Japan, India and South Korea.
Fernandez said he was confident that the United States would seal an agreement to allow critical minerals mined or processed in Britain to qualify for U.S. clean vehicle tax breaks.
On Monday, Fernandez said the United States was optimistic about reaching such an agreement with the EU and Washington signed a minerals deal with Japan in March.
“Those conversations are intense, they’re ongoing and we have every expectation they will result in an agreement,” Fernandez said.
The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act provides a $7,500 tax credit on EVs bought in the U.S. if a percentage of critical battery minerals are sourced from the United States or a free trade partner.
(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)