Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. said an ongoing social media campaign, allegedly linked to pro-China groups, won’t derail efforts to build a processing facility in Texas.
(Bloomberg) — Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. said an ongoing social media campaign, allegedly linked to pro-China groups, won’t derail efforts to build a processing facility in Texas.
The attacks, reported last year, involve accounts claiming to belong to local activists who are worried about the plant’s environmental impact. Cyber security firm Mandiant has said the posts are from “entities that have a pro-China agenda,” Lynas Chief Executive Officer Amanda Lacaze said Tuesday in an interview at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Western Australia.
Read More: China-Linked Bots Attacking Rare Earths Producer ‘Every Day’
The US government is paying Lynas $258 million to build a rare earths processing plant in Texas to help break China’s stranglehold on production of critical minerals that are crucial in battery metals and semiconductors. Rare earth elements make magnets used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, air conditioners and military equipment.
“There’s a lot of Twitter bots around, and there’s a lot of disinformation” from the attacks, Lacaze said. “Rarely have people with a dominant position in any area of life happily conceded it. The Chinese spent 30 years building capability in their supply chain and they are not about to easily walk away from that.”
Still, the campaigns weren’t influencing public opinion in Texas, Lacaze said, adding she believed the US would succeed in onshoring critical manufacturing industries. “When the US decides to do something, they can execute like no one else,” she said.
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