× How Hunter Biden’s Firm Helped Secure Cobalt for the Chinese
Cobalt, the most sought-after material in US nuclear weapons, has been called the rarest and most highly sought-after metal ever. It is used in items such as Iron Dome and the warhead for the AGM-86 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.
Hunter Biden’s company, Meridian Medical Technologies, has worked with government scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to secure cobalt used in US weapons to protect it from theft by Chinese spies.
The work has been disclosed to the Congress via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Freedom of Information Act.
It has revealed how Meridian’s scientists have developed a process that, at its heart, embeds Cobalt in glass, making it more difficult to pilfer. It also results in the cobalt being “irradiated” or destroyed at a significantly higher rate compared to other materials used in weapons.
In fact, the most secure concentration of cobalt produced by Meridian employs more than 1,000 more times more cobalt than the highest concentration of cobalt used to fabricate battlefield ordinances to date, more than doubling the cobalt concentration to around a million parts per millimeter (ppm).
It could serve as a powerful deterrent to Chinese spying, allowing the US government to extend its delivery systems even further than the standard nuclear warhead, using a mix of conventional weapons and nuclear capabilities to overwhelm the Russian and Chinese’s military capabilities.
Its production is not cheap and its patent lasts for more than 35 years — but it could save the US government a staggering sum.
In China, the manufacture of an atomic bomb requires tens of thousands of tons of cobalt.
The Cobalt within the weapons is also incredibly valuable, fetching a market value of more than $6.5 billion, and is one of the most sought-after materials in the world.
Biden and Ted Sorenson’s firm began operating in 2012, and its US clients include the US Defense Department, the Navy, and the Atomic Energy Commission. It’s products have saved the US government more than $20 million, according to the FOIA request, which documents how its cobalt safety processes have protected more than 600 metric tons of cobalt, valued at more than $600 million.
There is also no shortage of commercial demand in the US for the safety-enhancing output from Orion and Meridian Medical Technologies.
Metalscorp, a primary cobalt smelter and refiner, operates the Cerro de Dota copper mine in Chile, which supplies more than half of the world’s cobalt, with its bricks and blocks used in products ranging from automotive parts to personal electronics.
Nuclear submarines also require strong cobalt for their warheads, for which buyers include the US Navy, China and North Korea.
Between the Pentagon and its contractors, there is a $7 billion annual market for cobalt-containing products.
But their reliance on military-grade security material makes one vital for the larger global economy.
Diamond supplies are being challenged by India and Russia, while demand for cobalt-containing chemicals is increasing thanks to technology development and application in healthcare and energy applications.
“Eventually cobalt is coming to represent a whole new generation of opportunities for enterprises such as Meridian Medical Technologies and Orion Materials,” Diana Seidman, the company’s director of business development, said.
Since November, there has been heightened tension between the US and China after US President Donald Trump warned that some US business activity would be suspended unless there was a reduced trade deficit with China.
He later agreed a truce while senior officials met at the G20 summit last month.