Since Biden Signed the Landmark Climate Bill, Chinese Investment in Critical Minerals has Skyrocketed



Since US President Joe Biden signed his climate bill in 2022, China has seen a significant surge in investments related to critical minerals used to produce green energy products. Chinese entities, under the country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), increased their investments in mining minerals like lithium, copper, and nickel by 158% in 2023 compared to the previous year. The Griffith Asia Institute expects continued growth in BRI investment targeting green energy, mining, and related activities throughout 2024.

China Amplifies Investment in Green Energy Critical Minerals Post Biden’s Climate Bill

Since President Joe Biden enacted his climate bill in 2022, China has dramatically boosted its investment in critical minerals vital for green energy products. This is based on analysis by Australia’s Griffith University.

The “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led Chinese businesses to heighten their investments in mining minerals like lithium, copper, and nickel in 2023. These areessential for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EV), according to the Griffith Asia Institutereport. The BRI mining investment saw a 158% growth compared to 2022, with a projected rise in green energy and related investments throughout 2024.

The BRI is aCCP-backed program aiming to establish a significant network of global infrastructure projects, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

After Bidensigned theInflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022, hepromised that the $369 billion allocation for green energy subsidies would lead to a cleaner economy and a boost in American manufacturing of solar panels and EVs.

In the year following the Act, Chinese businesses invested over $19 billion in mining projects, with roughly $15 billion focused on mining nickel, lithium, copper, and aluminum, says the Griffith Asia Institute. Pre-IRA, in 2021, BRI investment in mining was below $10 billion.

Chinese entities aremaneuvering to exploit IRA provisions and access U.S. subsidies by establishing operations in beneficial areas like Morocco or by formingjoint ventures orsubsidiaries in the U.S.

U.S. companies have also made vast green energy investments, with the private sector pouring over $360 billion into green energy projects, according to the White House.

Despite this, there is some unease within the administration about Chinese green energy products. Beyondconcerns regarding Uyghur Muslim slave labor’s allegedlinks to Chinese green supply chains, the administration isinvestigating specific Chinese EVs deemed to pose potential national security and intelligence risks.

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