China attacks Australian rare earth supplier on social media – report

China has utilised Twitter and Facebook accounts posing as Americans to undermine Australian rare earths company Lynas Rare Earths, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The authoritative newspaper said China was utilising social media propaganda accounts that previously criticised Hong Kong protesters to attack a rare earths processing facility Lynas is constructing in Texas, partially funded by the US government.

According to the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the accounts posed as Texans including one user named ‘Cox Teri’.

Purporting to be an environmentalist, Cox Teri said in one post: “LYNAS dumps toxic and radioactive waste, radioactive waste that affects lives, livelihoods, the environment and health of future generations.”

Lynas operates the Mt Weld mine in Western Australia, is building new processing facilities at Kalgoorlie, WA and operates a metals production plant in Malaysia.

The metals produced are essential for the production of high tech products such as electric motors, touch screens and computer memories, but have been attacked in Malaysia for their production of radioactive by-products.

Lynas is by far he biggest producer of rare earths outside China.

President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act this year to boost US rare earths production, resulting in the US providing backing to Lynas to build a facility in Hondo, Texas.

The accounts have also criticised other rare earths companies, according to the Washington Post, including Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. and USA Rare Earth.

Facebook has investigated and removed some of the accounts.

Picture: Lynas Rare Earths/Malaysian metals production facility

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