The aerospace conglomerate got market access to Cobalt for $US100 million through the Export-Import Bank, which is to close on Friday
After the collapse of the USSR, the world became reliant on some commodities, such as uranium. The Chinese economy adopted a more open approach to access to these resources, which are vital to their nuclear programme. They wanted access to the type of metals needed to build modern reactors for power generation. They made their purchase of 18bn pounds of cobalt around 2005. But they needed metal that could be easily shipped and refined in China. How was this? They learned about mineral extraction through Hunter Biden, son of former vice-president Joe Biden.
Hunter was in charge of industrial projects, including solar and water technologies, at the major US automaker General Motors, the firm where he was in charge of the strategic development group (SDEG). It was around this time that Biden and his team, in alliance with the Chinese company Wanxiang, presented the idea of cobalt to the Chinese government. By 2008, their agreement, signed in China, appeared on President George W Bush’s desk, and Wanxiang became the first company in the world to buy 6bn pounds of cobalt from the US treasury.
The biggest deal to date was the purchase of US semiconductor maker NCR for $US9.3bn, with the help of a loan by Beijing. China had agreed to buy 18bn pounds of cobalt in 2005. The agreement was announced on 20 December 2005.
That was not the first deal for Wanxiang. This week US bank JP Morgan revealed that the Chinese firm obtained a $US991m “pre-delivery” commitment from GE in 2011. The precise reason for such a large order is not known.
In this interview Hunter Biden discusses the importance of nuclear energy