California’s Convening on Critical Materials Ecosystem

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

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Mar 3, 2023

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  • California recently convened in Palm Desert to discuss the state’s emerging and accelerating critical material ecosystem across multiple regions.
  • The discussion centered on the need for critical minerals and materials to build the complete supply chain for zero-emission vehicles, clean energy technologies, semiconductors, aerospace and defense, and more.
  • The convening revealed that California has the necessary building blocks to support a resilient, secure, and sustainable future for the collective supply chain transition.

The critical minerals found in California are essential for manufacturing renewable energy technologies and other advanced materials. For instance, lithium, a vital mineral found in the Salton Sea region, is required to produce rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics. In addition, rare earth minerals like neodymium, cerium, and lanthanum, found in the Mojave Desert and the San Bernardino Mountains, are necessary for manufacturing magnets that power wind turbines and electric vehicle motors.

California’s potential as a major producer of rare earth elements

Moreover, California’s unique geology and mineral resources make it one of the few states in the US with the potential to become a significant producer of rare earth elements. However, the challenge lies in extracting these minerals in an environmentally sustainable way, given the high energy and water consumption levels required in the extraction process. This is where initiatives like the state’s critical minerals convening play a crucial role in bringing together industry experts, policymakers, and academics to explore ways to extract these minerals and minimize the environmental impact sustainably.

Balancing the need for critical minerals with environmental concerns in California

In conclusion, California’s critical minerals ecosystem can potentially drive the transition toward a more sustainable, secure, and resilient future. However, the state must carefully balance the need for critical minerals with environmental concerns to ensure that the extraction and production process is sustainable and does not cause harm to the ecosystem. By leveraging the state’s unique geology and mineral resources, California can establish itself as a leader in producing critical minerals and contribute to developing advanced technologies essential for building a low-carbon economy.

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