As the world stays on edge while China threatens to invade Taiwan – producer of approximately 66% of the world’s semiconductors – politicians and pundits scrambled to find ways to address the United States’ approach to the heated situation. However, when it comes to the cobalt supply, which is a critical component to producing batteries used in everyday life, Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) has just introduced a proactive solution to refine more of the raw material domestically, rather than scramble at the time of crisis.
The name of the bill is called the Cobalt Optimizes Batteries and Leading Technologies (COBALT) Act. According to the Donalds press release, the bill’s purpose is to “increase cobalt reserves in the National Defense Stockpile by directing the Defense Secretary to increase the amount of domestically refined cobalt.”
The release goes on to mention, “additionally, the COBALT Act seeks to establish domestic cobalt refining capability in the United States, alleviate America’s current dependence on foreign countries for our domestic cobalt supply, and combat slave and forced child labor by requiring much needed transparency throughout the mining and refining process.”
As the world has seen the effects of dependence on foreign products following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many have argued that there needs to be a safety net for Americans and freedom-embracing nations when it comes to items that allow society to function.
“Much of our nation's and the world's cobalt supply comes from China through slave and forced child labor, which ultimately empowers the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and turns a blind eye to its inhumane treatment of African people, said Rep. Donalds.
“Our dependence on foreign countries, such as the CCP, for our domestic cobalt supply is a matter of national security. I am proud to sponsor the COBALT Act, which aims to put America first by pursuing self-sufficient pro-American solutions and promoting domestic energy independence.”
In addition, Rep. Donalds sent letters to the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy advocating for more American cobalt production.