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US bans China crypto-miner from nuclear base area

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US President Joe Biden has ordered a Chinese-owned cryptocurrency miner and its partners to sell land they own near a US nuclear missile base, citing spying concerns.

MineOne Partners, which the White House says is majority-owned by Chinese citizens, has been given 120 days to sell the property, where it runs a crypto-mining operation.

The land is less than a mile (1.6km) away from an air force base in Wyoming, where intercontinental ballistic missiles are stored.

BBC News has contacted MineOne Partners and China’s embassy in the US for comment.

“The proximity of the foreign-owned Real Estate to a strategic missile base… and the presence of specialised and foreign-sourced equipment potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities, presents a national security risk”, the White House said in a statement.

Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming is home to Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.

MineOne bought the land close to the military base in 2022 and later installed cryptocurrency mining equipment.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a powerful body that scrutinises deals for national security security threats, was not notified about the purchase by the company, the White House said.

Authorities were alerted to the transaction after a tipoff from a member of the public.

The inter-agency panel, which is led by the US Treasury Department, determined that the purchase had national security implications.

President Biden’s decision to force MineOne to sell the land “highlights the critical gatekeeper role that CFIUS serves to ensure that foreign investment does not undermine our national security”, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

There has been growing concern among US lawmakers about Chinese purchases of property near sensitive military facilities.

The latest announcement from the White House comes just a day before the Biden administration is set to sharply increase tariffs on several Chinese imports, including electric vehicles.

BBC
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