Canada orders Chinese companies to divest stake in lithium mines
Financial Times, Nov. 2, 2022
Ottawa has ordered three Chinese groups to divest their stakes in Canadian critical mineral companies after a defence and intelligence review concluded that the investments posed a threat to national security. In a move that reflected a significant hardening of Canada’s stance towards China, the government ordered Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources to exit its stake in Power Metals, a Canadian lithium miner. Ottawa also instructed Chengze Lithium International to divest its stake in Lithium Chile and told Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) to unwind its investment in Ultra Lithium, another Canadian resource developer. Industry minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada welcomed foreign direct investment from companies that “share our interests and values” but would “act decisively when investments threaten our national security and our critical minerals supply chains”. Roland Paris, a foreign policy expert at the University of Ottawa, said the decision followed an announcement that Canada would allow only state-owned entities to invest in its critical mineral companies on an “exceptional basis”, heralding a tougher approach on Chinese companies. “Together, these two announcements represent a significant shift in Canadian policy and a recognition that we and our allies will need to secure sources of critical minerals now and in the future,” Paris said. He noted that Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister, recently spoke in Washington about the need to boost economic ties among democratic allies and stressed Canada’s importance as a supplier of critical minerals....