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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Webster calls for action against China’s control over critical minerals  

Congressman Daniel Webster along with House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), House Committee on Armed Services Vice Chair Rob Wittman (R-VA), and 28 of his House colleagues, recently sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding the development of a plan in response to the Chinese Communist Party’s growing interest and investment in the seabed mining of critical mineral resources. 

“We cannot afford to cede another critical mineral resource to China,” the members wrote. “The United States, and specifically, the Department of Defense, should be engaging with allies, partners and industry to ensure that China does not seize unfettered control of deep-sea assets.”

The CCP dominates 85 to 95 percent of the global supply chains for most of the world’s critical mineral resources. Additionally, the CCP controls the majority of the world’s processing capacity that converts these minerals into finished products that are vital to U.S. weapons systems, according to Webster, a Republican who represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This summer, Beijing announced that it will be enacting additional restrictions on the exportation of gallium and germanium products, further demonstrating its dominance of these crucial supply chains. Gallium and germanium are metals used in the development of chips, satellite communications, spacecraft power generation, and radar systems. With 60 percent of the world’s germanium and 80 percent of the world’s gallium produced in China, this poses as a huge threat to U.S. interests and national security, Webster said.

The deep-sea bed is rich in mineral resources, including manganese, cobalt, copper, nickel, and rare earth elements. The deep-sea mining of these resources is regulated by the International Seabed Authority, an institution where the Unite States only holds observer status, Webster said.

Members are calling on the Department of Defense to take action and develop a plan to further our presence in the extraction of these deep-sea mineral resources before China’s already strong presence controls the entire industry.

Additional signers of the letter include Representatives Mark Alford (R-MO), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Michael Turner (R-OH), Randy K. Weber, Sr. (R-TX), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), James Moylan (R-GU), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Brad Finstad (R-MN), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Maria Elvira Salizar (R-FL), Cory Mills (R-FL), David Rouzer (R-NC), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Nicholas Langworthy (R-NY), Morgan Luttrell (R-TX), Rich McCormick, MD (R-GA), Keith Self (R-TX), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Brian Babin (R-TX), and Ronny L. Jackson (R-TX).

Read the full letter text here.

 

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