A group of US congressmen from both parties is moving to give the Pentagon even more money in order to replenish the largely depleted stockpile of strategic minerals, alarmed that most of the antimony used by the American defense industry comes from China. The metal is crucial in the production of semiconductors, batteries and ammunition, among other things.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) “is concerned about recent geopolitical dynamics with Russia and China and how that could accelerate supply chain disruptions, particularly with antimony,” said a report released on Wednesday.
Antimony is usually combined with lead and tin to make bearings and lead-acid batteries. It is also used in semiconductor devices. Its military applications range from bullets and explosives to night-vision goggles and even nuclear weapons, according to Defense News.
“China is the largest producer of mined and refined antimony and a major source of imports for the United States,” said a 2020 report by the US Geological Survey, noting that there is “no domestic mine for antimony.”