Cutting off the supply of rare metals could become a means of pressure for China in a situation where tensions with the US arise.
If necessary, China could put pressure on America’s “Achilles heel” by cutting off supplies of the vital rare metal, cobalt, says National Interest (NI) journalist Gregory Visher.
Cobalt is an important raw material to the US economy and defense industry. The metal is essential for the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, jet engines, and especially electronics used in the F-35 fighter jet.
According to expert Gregory Vischer, the US is heavily dependent on Cobalt imports and this is Washington’s “Achilles heel” because when supply is interrupted, the production lines of weapons or combat vehicles, such as injections F-35 stealth fighter will be discontinued
“The US is too dependent on the Cobalt supply chain, while the supply of this rare metal is controlled by foreign companies and countries, especially China,” the author of the NI article emphasized.
Cobalt mines in the US are estimated to have reserves of only about 69,000 tons, accounting for 0.9 of the total reserves of this metal in the world. For its part, China controls about 14% of the entire planet’s cobalt ore production.
In addition, Chinese companies own or have shares in many foreign cobalt mining enterprises, giving them more tools and power to dominate the market.
All of this gives Beijing a huge influence on the world market for rare raw materials, for which America’s dependence on imports is close to 100 percent.
“China can limit the global supply of cobalt, they will use this method as a way to put pressure on the US if there is a tension between the two sides, similar to how Russia used gas to control Europe.” NI analysts believe.
Some time ago, the Chinese government stopped exporting rare earth elements to Japan. Mr. Gregory Vischer fears similar action could be taken with Cobalt supplies.
Cobalt supply problems threaten the US with huge consequences. In particular, the country will face difficulties in manufacturing high-tech military products. All of this poses a serious challenge to the national security of the United States.
Not only Cobalt, previously appeared voices of concern about the US having control over the supply of Antimony – a non-ferrous metal that is also extremely important to their defense industry when used in many types of technological ammunition high.
China, in terms of Antimony reserves, is firmly at the top of the world with 51.88%, while Russia is second with 19.12%, what will happen if the two countries shake hands to stop the supply? granted to the US?
Analysts say that if the above scenario happens, within 3 years, a significant part of US military equipment will turn into scrap because there are not enough raw materials needed to produce spare parts and spare parts. manufacture new products.
Faced with the above situation, there have been quite a few voices in the US asking for permits for the large-scale mining of rare metal ores to avoid dependence on foreign countries.