Rep. James Comer wants info on Hunter Biden’s ties to Chinese mine sale

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The leading Republican on the House Oversight Committee is calling on the National Archives to release any information it has related to Hunter Biden’s alleged involvement in the sale of an African cobalt mine to a Chinese company in 2016.

In a letter to Archivist David Ferriero Wednesday, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) requested any documents pertaining to the first son’s potential role in the transaction, arguing the sale posed a potential national security threat by undermining the United States’ capacity to invest in green energy. Cobalt is a key component in electric car batteries.

“The American people deserve answers regarding why the Obama Administration —whether at then-Vice President Biden’s behest or not — watched in silence as an American company transferred control of this precious asset to a Chinese conglomerate and why Hunter Biden was — yet again — involved in international matters on which he has no expertise,” Comer wrote.

The complex transaction was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon during the 2020 presidential campaign, and was spotlighted by the New York Times this past November. It resulted in private equity firm BHR Partners being cut in on the $3.8 billion transaction — which transferred 80 percent of the Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo from Arizona-based mining company Freeport-McMoRan to Beijing-backed China Molybdenum.

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son.
Rep. James Comer has questioned why Hunter Biden was part of this international matter.
Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

Hunter Biden and two other Americans co-founded BHR with several Chinese partners, and the three Americans each controlled 10 percent of the firm at the time of the sale. However, the rest of the company is owned or controlled by Chinese-based investors, including the state-controlled Bank of China.

“The loss of African cobalt mines to the Chinese is a severe blow to the United States’ ability to invest in green technology and lead the world by example,” Comer wrote. “It is potentially a national security threat, and it was a loss orchestrated in no small part by the president’s son.”

“As a 10 percent owner of the firm that brokered a multi-billion-dollar deal, Hunter Biden no doubt made a profit from this massive transaction,” Comer went on. “Unfortunately, such profit has come at great expense to both the United States and the DRC. China has reportedly failed to fulfill its promises to the DRC and established less than adequate safety conditions for mine workers.”

Comer argued that the Obama administration should have intervened to block the sale, claiming that though it was “well aware how important cobalt was about to become to the global economy … it curiously did nothing to intervene in Hunter Biden’s Chinese-backed transaction to facilitate the sale of one of the world’s richest cobalt mines from an American company to a Chinese company.”

Excavators and drillers at work in an open pit at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi in Congo's copper-producing south.
Tenke Fungurume, a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, produces large amounts of cobalt used to develop electric vehicle batteries.
REUTERS/Jonny Hogg//File

The lawmaker requested the Archives hand over any information pertaining to the deal by Feb. 2.

“In this latest episode, Hunter Biden appears to have profited in the short-term directly from America’s long-term loss,” Comer concluded. “While Hunter Biden might not care that his actions have been a boon to the Chinese and a detriment to the United States’ position of leadership on clean energy, Americans do.”

Hunter Biden’s attorney said in November that his client had divested his 10 percent stake in BHR Partners, but offered no further details on the identity of the buyer or the transaction terms.

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