Ottawa restricts foreign public investment in critical minerals

OTTAWA — The federal government is restricting the participation of foreign state-owned companies in Canada’s critical minerals sector amid a global scramble for resources and growing tensions with China.

OTTAWA — The federal government is restricting the participation of foreign state-owned companies in Canada’s critical minerals sector amid a global scramble for resources and growing tensions with China.

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the new approach in a statement Friday, saying critical minerals are essential to Canada’s prosperity and security.

“The growing demand and limited supply of these very important minerals present Canada with a generational economic opportunity, and the Government of Canada is committed to seizing this opportunity while meeting its ambitious climate goals,” the ministers said.

“While we continue to welcome foreign direct investment that supports this goal, Canada will act decisively when investments threaten our national security and critical mineral supply chains.

The new rules will make it harder for companies owned or operated by foreign governments to buy or invest in the industry, with the government planning to set a higher bar for determining whether such a transaction is considered beneficial to Canada. .

Among the factors that will be considered are the extent to which a foreign government could control Canadian assets, the degree of competition in the sector and whether the deal could endanger Canadian security.

The new rules come as companies and countries around the world scramble to secure critical minerals such as aluminium, lithium and cobalt, many of which are vital for electronics and low-carbon technologies. , including semiconductors, batteries and electric vehicle motors.

The rules also coincide with growing tensions with China, which has bought or invested in Canadian mines and other natural resources to fuel its own domestic industries.

The federal government is expected to release what it calls a critical minerals strategy by the end of the year, which will aim to position the country as a leader in providing resources to industries and other countries. of the world.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 28, 2022.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Carol N. Valencia