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Tags: cotton | granholm | doe | lithium | genfeng | china

Sen. Cotton Probes Funding of China-Backed Lithium Battery Company

sen. tom cotton speaking during a hearing

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 September 2022 03:23 PM EDT

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a letter Tuesday to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that he would like answers about the agency helping fund a Chinese Communist Party-backed lithium battery manufacturing company, Lithium Americas, that is trying to build a mine in Nevada.

"The U.S. government should apply strict oversight regarding potential federal funding of CCP-owned or -controlled entities," Cotton wrote. "DOE's loan for the Thacker Pass mine would be substantial and reportedly cover the majority of the project's capital costs. It is critical that DOE ensure taxpayer funding does not go to corporations with CCP ties and does not increase U.S. mineral dependence on China."

According to its website, the Vancouver, Canada, company is "focused on advancing lithium projects in Argentina and the United States to production."

In a recent press release, the company said it entered into a collaboration agreement with Green Technology Metals Ltd. "to advance a common goal of developing an integrated lithium chemical supply chain in North America."

"As we prepare to commence construction at Thacker Pass [in Nevada], we see an opportunity to further strengthen our role in developing a North American lithium supply chain," Jonathan Evans, Lithium Americas' President and CEO said in the release. "On the back of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act by U.S. Congress, we are having increased engagement with potential partners and customers focused on North America."

The Thacker Pass project in Humbolt County, Nevada, is 100% owned by the company and is receiving some of its $10 million investment financing through the U.S. DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, part of the recently passed $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act.

"Worryingly, media reports indicate that Lithium Americas' largest shareholder is Ganfeng, a Chinese company with direct ties to the CCP," Cotton said in the letter. "Ganfeng is currently acquiring lithium mines around the world, which, according to former Secretary Mike Pompeo, is part of a 'clear intention by the Chinese Communist Party to control the entire supply chain for green energy.' The United States should be reducing its dependence on China for these critical inputs, not opening the door for China to 'gain a foothold in America on lithium mining,' as reported."

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission report in 2019, the company is working on a 50-50 joint venture project with Ganfeng Lithium in Argentina, a relationship that could make the Nevada project "uncertain."

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Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wants answers about the agency helping fund a Chinese Communist Party-backed lithium battery manufacturing company, Lithium Americas, that is trying to build a mine in Nevada.
cotton, granholm, doe, lithium, genfeng, china
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2022-23-27
Tuesday, 27 September 2022 03:23 PM
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