California’s Critical Minerals back in Limelight: Termed as the Future of Supply Chain

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Jan 26, 2023


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  • California is rich in critical minerals such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt, essential for producing renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and high-tech electronics.
  • An event regarding Building the Supply Chain for Tomorrow was held on 18th January in Palm Springs.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) also participated in the event and outlined four main priorities for California’s critical minerals and supply chain opportunities.

California’s abundance of critical minerals

California is rich in critical minerals, including rare earth elements (REEs), lithium, and cobalt. These minerals are essential for producing renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and high-tech electronics.

One opportunity for companies to establish a presence in CA’s supply chain is to explore and mine these minerals within the state. Another opportunity is to process and refine the minerals or to manufacture products using them. 

New Supply chain opportunities in California

California governor joined the White House to highlight support for critical minerals – rare earth, lithium, and boron.

America’s need for rare earth minerals is something that MP Materials hopes to address. As the only “vertically integrated” producer of rare earth magnetics worldwide, MP wants to bring back the entire supply chain to the United States.

MP stated in November that it had started commissioning equipment for the second step of manufacturing, separation, and purification, which is currently performed mainly in China. 

Additionally, the business has started construction on a brand-new manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, Texas, where the Mountain Pass minerals will be transformed into metals, alloys, and magnets.

“The new MP Materials magnetics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, will play a key role in GM’s journey to build a secure, scalable, and sustainable EV supply chain,” Coomer said in the release.

Building the Supply Chain for Tomorrow

In the Building the Supply Chain for Tomorrow event, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) clearly outlined its four main priorities for critical minerals & supply chain opportunities in California:

1. Justice40 Initiative

Meet or exceed the objectives of the justice40 initiative that 40% of benefits accrue to disadvantaged communities. 


The Justice40 Initiative mandates that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments, such as those in clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of clean water infrastructure, go to underserved communities (DACs).

2. Diversity, equity inclusion, and accessibility

Equitable access to wealth-building opportunities can include teaming, good jobs, business, contracting opportunities, etc. 


The Department of Energy’s (DOE) strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). The department-wide DEIA objectives and activities for the Federal workforce are to be carried out and led by the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (ODEIA). 

3. Good jobs

The new focus is to create good-paying jobs to attract and retain skilled workers and ensure workers have a voice over decisions that affect them. It may include wages working conditions, safety, etc. 

4. Workforce and community agreements

Meaningful engagement with community and Labour partners leads to formal agreements. These agreements ensure meaningful engagement between the organization, the community, and labor partners. It can include input on decisions related to the organization’s operations, workforce development and training, and community development initiatives.

Supply Chain Highlights from 2022

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a one-time state financial commitment of $1.2 billion for port and freight infrastructure improvement projects in the State. 

Read More: California’s Transport Agency to Pump $1.2B into Supply Chain Upgradation of the State.

The San Bernardino City Council has decided to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for BNSF’s proposed gap closure project, which aims to improve train infrastructure in and out of the company’s existing San Bernardino Intermodal Facility. 

Read More: BNSF to Improve Train Infrastructure in San Bernardino: California Makes Key Appointment for Sustainable Supply Chain

Wrap Up!

Critical minerals, including lithium, cobalt, and rare earth elements (REEs), are abundant in California. These minerals are necessary to manufacture high-tech electronics, electric cars, and renewable energy systems. Companies have numerous chances to participate in the supply chain development of these minerals. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) California has broken down the supply chain potential into four main priorities.


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