An investment company founded by Hunter Biden helped a Chinese company buy one of the world’s richest cobalt mines from a US company for $ 3.8 billion – and helped the conglomerate get a massive share of the key metal used to make batteries for electric cars.
The president’s son was one of three Americans who joined Chinese partners to establish the Bohai Harvest RST Equity Investment Fund Management Company, or BHR, in 2013.
The Americans controlled 30 percent of the company and made successful investments that culminated in helping China’s molybdenum buy the Think Fungurume cobalt mine in Congo from the American company Freeport-McMoRan in 2016, the New York Times reported.
The news comes after President Joe Biden warned that China could use its dominance of extracted cobalt to disrupt US development of electric vehicles.
It also adds to the investigation Biden and his father have faced for their relations with Chinese and Ukrainian companies while Joe was vice president and later ran for president.
Hunter Biden (pictured November 10) was one of three American founders of an investment company primarily owned by Chinese partners. The company helped secure the richest cobalt mine in the world for a Chinese company in 2016
Biden founded BHR together with two other Americans and Chinese partners in 2013. He was no longer part of the board from April 2020
Bohai Harvest RST Equity Investment Fund Management Company, or BHR, teamed up with China Molybdenum to buy Think Fungurume Cobalt Mine in Congo (pictured)
Biden’s company entered into the agreement with Joe Biden, not true, was still vice president. The current president has warned that US production of electric vehicles could be hampered by China’s dominance over cobalt, one of the key components of electric batteries
BHR slowly entered an investment power plant after helping finance an Australian coal mining company controlled by a Chinese state-owned company, the newspaper reported.
The investment company’s major breakthrough came in 2016 when it bought and sold a stake in CATL, a Chinese company that is now the world’s largest manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles.
That same year, China announced Molybdenum – one of the world’s leading producers of precious metals molybdenum and tungsten – that it would buy the Tenke Fungurume cobalt mine from Freeport-McMoRan, an American mining company.
But to buy the mine, the Chinese company needed a partner to buy out one of the stakeholders, Lundin Mining in Canada.
That was when the BHR came in to buy out Lundin with $ 1.14 billion raised from obscure Chinese state-sponsored companies, according to the Times.
Biden still controlled 10 percent of BHR when the shares in the mines were sold to China Molybdenum in 2019.
Think The Fungurume Cobalt Mine in Congo is worth $ 3.8 billion and has the largest deposit of the metal
The mines were purchased from the US-based company Freeport-McMoRan, which owns mines across the country (pictured a Freeport-McMoRan mine in Colorado)
Chris Clark, one of Biden’s lawyers, said the president’s son “no longer has an interest, directly or indirectly, in either BHR or Skaneateles,” a firm Biden used to control its BHR shares.
Chinese records show that Biden was no longer on BHR’s board from April 2020, and a former board member told the Times that the American founders were not directly involved in the mining agreement and apparently only earned a nominal fee from it.
“We do not know Hunter Biden, nor are we aware of his involvement in the BHR,” Vincent Zhou, a spokesman for China Molybdenum, said in a statement.
A White House spokesman told the Times that President Biden had not been made aware of his son’s involvement in the sale.
The president has often faced setbacks for Biden’s trade with Chinese and Ukrainian companies through banks, lobbies and investment companies.
The need for cobalt by US companies became even more important after the president signed an executive order in August outlining a goal to let electric and other zero-emission vehicles make up half of the new cars and trucks sold in the US by 2030.
The 50 percent target is non-binding and mostly symbolic, but it sets expectations for American car manufacturers to begin the transition from building gas-powered cars to electric ones.
It includes battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric or fuel cell electric vehicles. Biden also included the first-ever national network of charging stations for electric vehicles in its $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.