Employee intended to sell confidential information about sodium cyanide to Chinese investors to set up competing plants

An ex-employee of the US chemical company Chemours has been charged with trying to steal trade secrets relating to sodium cyanide and sell them to Chinese investors. Jerry Jindong Xu worked for DuPont and later Chemours after its spin-off in 2015, where he was involved in marketing sodium cyanide.

Chemours is the world’s largest producer of sodium cyanide, which is predominantly used in mining. The company began constructing a $150 million (£114 million) sodium cyanide plant in Mexico earlier this year. The US Justice Department has accused Xu of misleading colleagues to acquire valuable information and confidential documents, which he and a co-conspirator intended to pass to Chinese investors. According to the Justice department investigation, his main aim was to either to help investors build a competing sodium cyanide plant or become an import competitor in North America.