A federal grand jury in Wilmington has charged a former Chemours employee with conspiring to steal trade secrets on a key chemical used in extracting gold and silver.
Prosecutors said the conspiracy involved sodium cyanide, a chemical used in mining. Chemours, based in Wilmington, performs the research and development for sodium cyanide at the Experimental Station in Wilmington and is the largest producer of the chemical.
A diluted solution of sodium cyanide is used to extract gold, silver, and other precious metals from ore.
Earlier this summer, Chemours broke ground on a $150 million sodium cyanide plant in Mexico.
Named in the indictment is Jerry Jindong Xu, who moved from China to North America in 2011 while employed by DuPont, and became a Chemours employee when Chemours spun off of DuPont in 2015.Indictment redacted signed
Xu, fired by Chemours in 2016, was a marketing professional specializing in sales of sodium cyanide. Xu was aided by an unnamed co-conspirator, who was also a longtime DuPont employee before leaving the company in 2014 to open a cyanide and mining consulting business.
According to the indictment, Xu’s main objective was either to help investors build a competing sodium cyanide plant or become an import competitor in North America.
Xu is charged with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets and faces maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000.00 fine. Xu was arrested in New York in August and arraigned in Wilmington on September 28.