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Canada on Friday changed its investment rules to make it more difficult for foreign state-owned companies to buy into the critical minerals sector. news online
The new stance followed a backlash over China’s moves to secure supplies in Canada of dozens of essential elements such as cobalt, lithium and manganese that are used in solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicle batteries.
Investments by foreign state-owned enterprises in Canada’s critical minerals sector will only be approved on “an exceptional basis,” the government said in a statement.
The higher scrutiny applies to all investments and not just takeovers of Canadian companies, as was previously the case.
Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said a foreign state-owned company’s participation in such transactions could be sufficient grounds to block a deal on the basis that it “could be injurious to Canada’s national security.”
Over the past two decades China has invested billions in Canada to secure supplies of critical minerals.
Most recently, Ottawa allowed Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group to acquire Canadian lithium firm Neo Lithium Corp in January.
That led to parliamentary hearings and had put Champagne on the defensive.
Touring a lithium recycling facility in Montreal with visiting Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly commented that demand for lithium was poised to increase by 4,000 percent.
“The world needs critical minerals,” she said. “Canada can become a hub for critical minerals.”
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