DOE Seeks Info on “Critical Materials” Market Dynamics for Supply Chain Security

April 24, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) recently published a request for information seeking comments on market dynamics and price volatility in the processing, refining, and recycling of critical materials, and how the federal government might support market stability and price transparency. Comments will inform the DOE’s strategy toward securing such materials for the U.S. energy sector.

As explained in the DOE’s July 2023 Assessment, the Energy Secretary’s criticality determinations are forward-looking and focused on importance to energy and decarbonization applications and potential for supply risk.  The most recent lists of critical materials and minerals include the following:

  • Critical materials for energy: aluminum, cobalt, copper, dysprosium, electrical steel (grain-oriented electrical steel, non-grain-oriented electrical steel, and amorphous steel), fluorine, gallium, iridium, lithium, magnesium, natural graphite, neodymium, nickel, platinum, praseodymium, terbium, silicon, and silicon carbide.
  • Critical minerals: Aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, cerium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, dysprosium, erbium, europium, fluorspar, gadolinium, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, holmium, indium, iridium, lanthanum, lithium, lutetium, magnesium, manganese, neodymium, nickel, niobium, palladium, platinum, praseodymium, rhodium, rubidium, ruthenium, samarium, scandium, tantalum, tellurium, terbium, thulium, tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, ytterbium, yttrium, zinc, and zirconium.

The DOE is requesting information from “all types of critical material market participants,” including companies engaged in processing, refining, and recycling, as well as upstream feedstock suppliers, downstream purchasers, and trade associations.

Broadly, DOE is requesting information on:

  • Market dynamics for critical material producers and implications of those market dynamics for securing a secure and resilient critical material supply chain; and
  • What kind of Federal Government support or coordination would be essential to scaling up domestic critical material processing, refining, and recycling, particularly to mitigate market volatility.

Parties with an interest in the federal government’s strategy for securing domestic critical material supply chains and stabilizing related markets are invited to comment by May 20, 2024. Cassidy Levy Kent is positioned to assist in the preparation of such comments, which can inform DOE’s consideration of a wide range of policy options, including partnerships with like-minded countries, reverse auctions, advanced market commitments, direct procurement, facilitating market information sharing, encouraging price transparency, and supporting consortiums.