An investment company co-founded by President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden engineered a “$3.8 billion purchase by a Chinese conglomerate of one of the world’s largest cobalt deposits,” according to a report in the New York Times.
In 2016, according to the Times, “Chinese mining outfit China Molybdenum” sought to purchase “Tenke Fungurume, a cobalt and copper mine, from the American company Freeport–McMoRan.” The mine is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Biden’s firm, the Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company (BHR Partners), assisted the Chinese company with the purchase by buying out Lundin Mining of Canada, a minority stakeholder, for $1.14 billion.
BHR then sold its share to China Molybdenum in 2019, at a time when Hunter Biden “controlled 10 percent of the firm through Skaneateles L.L.C., a company based in Washington.”
“When the mine was sold,” according to the Times, “Mr. Biden’s father was near the end of his term as vice president.”
The Times also reported that “the Biden administration warned this year that China might use its growing dominance of cobalt to disrupt America’s retooling of its auto industry to make electric vehicles. The metal is among several key ingredients in electric car batteries.”
At The Federalist, Jonathan S. Tobin argued that the fact that “Hunter Biden was playing a part in Chinese actions that directly threaten the interests of the United States is a scandal with many layers that require further unpacking,” and that his involvement “should have been made known to the voters before Hunter’s father was elected president of the United States.”
Times reporters asked the White House whether President Biden was aware of his son’s role in the sale, and were told “No.”
In another article, Times reporters Dionne Searcey, Michael Forsythe and Eric Lipton reported that “as of last year, 15 of the 19 cobalt-producing mines in Congo were owned or financed by Chinese companies.”
“China’s goal,” they continued, “is to control the global supply chain from the metals in the ground to the batteries themselves, no matter where the vehicles are made.”
In a related report, Lipton and Searcey show that the Obama administration had advance warning of the sale and its consequences, and that nothing was done to prevent it.
Lipton and Searcey interviewed André Kapanga, “the mine’s Congolese general manager,” who warned American diplomats that “this is a mistake” and that “the Americans were squandering generations of relationship building in Congo, the source of more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt.”