BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan taxpayers could be subsidizing Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan with billions of U.S. dollars by producing lithium batteries at a proposed mega-battery plant in Big Rapids by way of buying lithium through China. That is the warning being put forth by two former U.S. ambassadors along with current members of Congress, state lawmakers, and prominent Chinese experts.
Numerous media sources, many outside of the United States, are reporting on a statement by the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum that says Minister Shahabuddin Delawar, Afghan senior leader of the Taliban, met recently with representatives of a Chinese company that they identified as “Gochin.” Afghanistan has been under the control of the Taliban following the American withdrawal in August of 2021.
The sources went on to say that the “Gochin” company expressed an interest in investing $10 billion to mine Afghanistan’s huge lithium reserves estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion U.S. dollars. Lithium is a highly sought-after element for batteries that are used to power laptops, mobile phones and electric vehicles (EVs).
“Gochin” said they would also build infrastructure including repairing the Salang Pass, carving out another tunnel and processing the lithium inside of Afghanistan as well as building a hydroelectric dam and asphalting roads.
It is believed by most sources that Michigan News Source reached out to that “Gochin” is actually the company “Gotion” and that there was a translation error in the announcement and publishing of this story across the world.
We reached out to Gotion VP President of North America Operations, Chuck Thelen, for confirmation that the company referred to in the press is actually “Gotion” but he did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company Gotion Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gotion High Tech, and is involved in a proposal to build a controversial battery plant in Big Rapids with taxpayer funding from the state of Michigan.
Khaama Press reports that the announcement of the Kabul meeting concerning the $10 billion investment was made by the Taliban government on Thursday, April 13th and that the financing will create 120K direct and a million indirect jobs. A lot of those jobs will be in lithium mining which former Ambassador Pete Hoekstra told Steve Gruber on The Steve Gruber Show this morning is a “very dirty and dangerous operation” that will “lead to the exploitation of women and children.”
Hoekstra said about this new revelation, “We now find ourselves in a position where Michigan taxpayer dollars most likely are going to end up going to the Chinese Communist Party and then funding the Chinese Communist Party through this “Gochin” company in Afghanistan buying lithium that will then find its way back to Michigan. Absolutely outrageous.”
Hoekstra went on to say, “It’s bad economic policy, it’s bad humanitarian policy, and it’s bad environmental policy and it just needs to stop. Today would be a good day for [Governor] Gretchen Whitmer to pull the plug on this.”
Former ambassadors Pete Hoekstra and Joseph Cella, serve with the all-volunteer run organization Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group and they have been sounding the alarm on the Big Rapids Gotion project even before this new revelation about China wanting to invest in Afghanistan for lithium mining.
The ambassadors will be holding a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Michigan State Capitol along with State Senator Jonathan Lindsey (R-Coldwater) and other Michigan legislators “to question the regime business ties and supply chain of Guoxuan High-Tech Company, Ltd. – the parent company of Gotion.”
Hoekstra told Michigan News Source, “It’s very possible Michigan tax payer dollars will help fund the CCP’s acquisition of lithium mineral rights from the Taliban in Afghanistan. NDA’s, rejected FOIA requests, no FARA registration, exploitation of child and women’s labor, and now funding the Taliban… is there no end to this nonsense?”
Cella added, “We are simply working diligently with other citizens to ask necessary questions and conducting independent due diligence wherever there are any reasonable or potential concerns with threats to our national security surrounding the Gotion project, and other projects, as the State of Michigan has refused to do so.”
Hoekstra doesn’t necessarily see a vast difference between the Gotion operation and the state-funded Ford battery plant in Marshall. He said, “The dynamics that are in place in Big Rapids are the same dynamics that are in place in Marshall, Michigan. Ford has been smarter about how they’ve been trying to sell this to the people of Michigan but the same dynamics are there. Michigan money funneling and going to the Chinese communist party going to other places to exploit women and children, use dirty environmental practices, ultimately to bring products back to Marshall Michigan and the United States of America. It’s how the Chinese government operates.”
Hoekstra added, “The American taxpayer, through American state governments and in some cases the federal government will be paying for it and we will have politicians who will bask in the limelight of saying ‘wow, look at all of these electric vehicles and how clean they are’ but they will have the blood of women and children and the environment all over them.”
Much of the current progressive agenda of the Democrat party includes what was originally referred to as the Green New Deal to fight climate change. That idea resulted in legislation at both the state and federal level to phase out fossil fuel and mandate the production of electric vehicles (EVs) for all of the automakers.
China plays a big part in the success of those mandates. As Axios and many others have reported, the United States cannot build EVs without China. Most of the raw minerals used in EV production, such as cobalt and lithium, are controlled by China.
Gordon B. Chang, an expert on the Chinese Communist Party, is warning that Michigan would be dangerously entangled with the CCP if they proceed in partnering with Gotion North America on building the massive battery plant in Northern Lower Michigan.
Chang told Steve Gruber, “I assume they are the same company,” referring to the spelling discrepancy in international reports of “Gochin” and the spelling in English of Gotion.
“Regardless of what it is called we should assume Michigan taxpayers are subsidizing the Chinese Communist Party and the Taliban mining lithium in Afghanistan.” He added that any decision to build the facility in Michigan would be, “strategically and morally wrong.”
Republican Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) also said about the news, “This revelation, if true, shows why China must be seen as our enemy and why we cannot be entangled with Chinese companies in any way.”