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China Vows Continued Investment in Canadian Mining Despite Tensions

Ambassador Says Stricter Reviews Won't Deter Business

by Victor Adetimilehin

China remains committed to investing in Canada’s critical minerals sector, despite a recent tightening of foreign ownership rules and ongoing political friction.

This stance comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced criticism for blocking Chinese firms from acquiring majority stakes in domestic mining companies in 2022.

Disagreements Over Security Concerns

Ambassador Cong Peiwu said the Canadian government is “wrong” to prevent Chinese investors from buying majority stakes in domestic mining companies, like it did in 2022 when it forced three Chinese state-owned firms to divest from a trio of lithium companies.

“Politicizing normal commercial cooperation and using national security as a pretext for political interference is wrong. China has expressed firm opposition to this,” said Cong in an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

“We’ll continue to do business on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.”

This viewpoint clashes with comments made last week by Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson. Wilkinson warned that any mining ventures involving Chinese stakes would face rigorous national security reviews.

Despite the stricter regulations, Chinese investment in Canadian mining shows no signs of stopping. This year alone, several significant deals have materialized. Zijin Mining Group acquired a 15% stake in Canadian copper producer Solaris Resources, while Ganfeng Lithium secured a similar stake in Vancouver-based Lithium Americas Argentina. Additionally, Yintai Gold purchased Osino Resources for C$368 million.

Canadian officials are closely monitoring the situation and considering the need for additional measures beyond the current national security review process.

China Calls for Open Market

Ambassador Cong urged Canada to prioritize “market laws” and avoid “over-stretching the concept of national security” with regards to Chinese investments. He argued that stricter regulations hinder access to essential funding for Canadian mining firms, especially during a period of low commodity prices.

Cong highlighted the importance of critical minerals in the global shift towards renewable energy sources. He emphasized that these materials are crucial for components like electric vehicle batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines.

While countries like Canada and the United States aim to reduce dependence on China’s dominance in the mining sector, collaboration is seen as necessary to address climate change through the sustainable supply of critical minerals.

Despite the ongoing tensions, both nations share a common interest in facilitating the green transition. Canada possesses vast reserves of critical minerals, while China holds significant financial resources and technological expertise in this field. Finding a balance between national security concerns and fostering a mutually beneficial economic relationship will be crucial in the coming years.

Source: Mining.com

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