China’s attack came in the form of a social media involving fake environmental damage claims.
Legal Insurrection readers are well-versed in the importance of rare earth minerals to this nation’s industry and security.
There have been intriguing developments in the battle over rare earth minerals recently. China recently conducted a disinformation campaign against a company building a rare earth minerals facility in Texas for the Pentagon.
The campaign centered on making fake environmental damage claims against the company.
The cybersecurity company Mandiant disclosed the campaign on Tuesday, alleging that Chinese actors used social media in a bid to discredit the Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., an Australian company, and other rare earth mining firms in order to undermine the critical supply chain for the elements. The Pentagon has signed an agreement with Lynas, the world’s largest rare earth mining and processing company, to build a Texas plant.
China has aggressively moved to dominate the global market for the “rare earth” minerals, which are indispensable to a number of cutting-edge high-tech products from smartphones and flat-screen TVs to medical equipment and water treatment systems. The U.S. and its allies have pressed in recent years to develop alternative sources of supply and production.
Mandiant investigators identified what they said were Chinese agents posing online as concerned local Texans who oppose Lynas’ planned construction of a rare earth processing plant there.
Fake Twitter accounts claimed the Texas plant would produce irreversible environmental damage, Mandiant stated in a blog post report. The fake accounts also stated that the plant would expose residents to radioactive contamination and health risks, including cancer, gene mutation and deformities in newborns.
In the wake of security concerns related to the accessibility of these essential substances, earlier this year, the Pentagon plans to boost the stockpile of rare earth minerals, cobalt and lithium it manages for the U.S. government.
The new stockpile agreement guidance is expected to be announced as soon as next week, one of the people said, nearly a year after U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order to study U.S. supply chain resiliency in February 2021.
Rare earths are often converted into magnets and used in next-generation weapons research as well as the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 jet and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) precision guided munitions.
Lithium, a key component used to make electric-vehicle batteries, will be vital to the Pentagon’s goal of shifting its non-tactical vehicle fleet, currently 170,000 strong, to zero emissions.
An agreement between the Departments of State, Energy and Defense was signed in early February and covers the select materials as well as large batteries used in the electrical grid, the people said.
Finally, a bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, incentivizing using American mineral resources.
In a bipartisan solution, Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) of the Senate Armed Services Committee have come together to sponsor the REESHORE Act. This legislation would help create a larger stockpile for the US military along with creating more incentives to mine these minerals in the US.
Senator Kelly, a former astronaut explained how he saw the problem firsthand from space.
“I’ve flown in space over China many times, orbited this planet hundreds of times. You look down over China and you see like what looks like lakes of very strange colors. And it’s because that they’re processing of things like rare earth metals. It’s a very dirty process,” Kelly said, alluding to the pollution China has had due to its mining of its minerals.
Senator Tom Cotton said if China were to cut the US off from these resources, the current Department of Defense stockpile would last under a year.
Production and mining of these materials in the US is highly limited due to heavy environmental regulations. Other supply chain issues are not helping. Given rising tensions with China over Taiwan and Ukraine, Beijing’s monopoly over rare earth minerals is an alarming national security issue. .
This is one of the few positive pro-American steps the Biden administration’s military has taken.
Now, if our military leaders could drop the green activism, social justice insanity, and woke policy implementation, perhaps the recruitment numbers would not be as full of fail as they are now.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.