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The US Military Is Almost Completely Dependent On China For Key Mineral Used In Ammunition: REPORT

The Daily Caller 6/9/2022 Philip Lenczycki
The vast majority of the mineral antimony — which is used in the production of ammunition, nuclear weapons and night vision goggles — is mined in China, Russia and Tajikistan. (REUTERS/Phil Noble) © (REUTERS/Phil Noble) The vast majority of the mineral antimony — which is used in the production of ammunition, nuclear weapons and night vision goggles — is mined in China, Russia and Tajikistan. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

The U.S. military depends almost completely on China for a mineral essential to the production of ammunition and other defense products, Defense News reported Wednesday.

The House Armed Services Committee released draft legislation on Wednesday which would require a briefing on the antimony supply by October and a five-year outlook on supply chain vulnerabilities, Defense News reported. The U.S. has no domestic mine for the mineral antimony, which is reportedly used in the production of night vision goggles, armor-piercing bullets, explosives and nuclear weapons.

“China in particular does a remarkably good job of hoarding these materials,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Defense News. “China clearly has a comprehensive global strategy to corner the market on these materials and we’re behind and we’re playing catch-up.”

In 2020, approximately half of the antimony mined originated in China, Russia and Tajikistan, according to Britannica.

A Chinese villager sifts for antimony at an illegal mine at Lengshuijiang in China’s southern province of Hunan August 10, 2003. The environment of Lengshuijiang has deteriorated to an alarming level due to indiscriminate and illegal mining. Antimony was first discovered in Lengshuijiang about 500 years ago and since then the area has developed into probably the world’s biggest mining area of antimony, which is widely used in semiconductor technology. (REUTERS/China Photo)

Moulton and seven Republicans wrote to the defense appropriations subcommittee in April asking for an additional $264 million in funding for the National Defense Stockpile (NDS), a reserve of critical materials used in national emergencies. The letter claimed that in the last 30 years Congress had “authorized the sell-off” of the majority of the stockpiled materials.

“The current stockpile is inadequate to meet the requirements of great power competition,” the letter stated. “The NDS is no longer capable of covering the Department of Defense’s needs for the vast majority of identified materials in the event of a supply chain disruption.”

The House Armed Services Committee draft legislation follows years of widespread supply chain disruptions initially caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further strained the supply chain, leading to a serious breakdown in the distribution of oil, grain and other goods.

The House Armed Services Committee, Moulton and the Department of Defense did not respond immediately to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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