Benchmark hails overwhelming reaction to Senate hearing on energy, EV supply chains

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has welcomed the overwhelming reaction to the US Senate hearing on Tuesday 5 February in Washington, DC, which focused on electric vehicle and energy storage supply chains.

Led by Chairman Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the hearing was the first of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the 116th Congress.

The Senators heard as Benchmark’s Managing Director, Simon Moores, issued a red alert on the lithium ion battery supply chain and the raw materials of lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite and warned the highest tier of US government that its country is presently a ‘bystander’ in this ‘global battery arms race’.

“The reaction to this hearing has been overwhelming,” Benchmark’s Simon Moores explained.

“We have had immediate discussions with major US government departments, coverage in the industry and mainstream media, and an incredible positive reaction from the industry and on social media.”

“Chairman Murkowski’s leadership is crucial if the US is to turn this discussion into action and reverse the trend of China dominating the lithium ion battery to EV supply chain.”

“Benchmark will continue to advise the US government on this process as the world rapidly shifts to electric vehicles and battery energy storage,” he added.

View the full hearing here

Some highlights from the hearing can be viewed below: 
Chairman and Senator Lisa Murkowski’s opening statement in full: 

“Let’s go ahead and begin our first official hearing this year. I really can’t think of a better way to set the stage here for this Congress than to welcome this panel of witnesses to look at the outlook for the energy and mineral markets.

“Whether we realize it or not, energy and minerals fuel our twenty-first century economy and standard of living.

“Access to energy and minerals – or perhaps lack thereof – can impact everything from health care, to poverty levels, to defense readiness, to the strength of our manufacturing sector.

“And the markets for energy and minerals are rapidly changing. In just the past decade we have seen a dramatic increase in domestic energy production, with a corresponding decrease in energy imports.

“Our domestic demand has remained relatively flat, but world demand has risen. So it’s a
good thing that we are now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, with renewables growing rapidly, as well.

“This remarkable shift has been a game-changer.

“We’ve realized substantial economic benefits here at home, while also giving us options to help our allies to achieve a greater level of energy security.

“But we also face potential challenges, including questions about the reliability and resiliency of the nation’s grid system as we lose baseload coal and nuclear.

“In contrast to the energy sector, our nation, in my view, is headed the wrong way on mineral imports. In 2017, we imported 50 percent of 50 mineral commodities, including 100 percent of 21 minerals of them.

“This is a dangerous trend – it’s really our Achilles heel – that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.

“Over the past several years, our committee has sought to call attention to our reliance on foreign nations for the minerals. The Administration has taken several important steps, but we must complement their actions with our own legislative actions.

“We have a great panel with us this morning to help us understand these market trends. Our witnesses are testifying on behalf of the Energy Information Administration; ClearView Energy Partners; the R Street Institute; Bloomberg New Energy Finance; and Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

“We appreciate your willingness to share your expertise with our committee. Senator Manchin, you had provided your opening comments, I don’t know if you want to add anything at this point in time before I begin their introductions.”


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