Canada must do more to protect its critical minerals, say critics

2022-01-27 3:15:00 AM

The House's Industry committee is reviewing a Chinese mining company's purchase of Neo Lithium. Senior Fellow Wesley Wark says it was a mistake for Ottawa not to do a national security review. #cndpoli

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The House's Industry committee is reviewing a Chinese mining company's purchase of Neo Lithium. Senior Fellow Wesley Wark says it was a mistake for Ottawa not to do a national security review. cndpoli

The Chinese purchase of a Canadian mining company might not threaten national security, but it illustrates that Canada should do more to protect its resources, says a former Canadian ambassador. On Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Industry and Technology committee met virtually to discuss Canada’s access to critical minerals after China’s Zijin Mining Group bought […]

The Chinese purchase of a Canadian mining company might not threaten national security, but it illustrates that Canada should do more to protect its resources, says a former Canadian ambassador.On Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Industry and Technology committee met virtually to discuss Canada’s access to critical minerals after China’s Zijin Mining Group bought Neo Lithium last year.

Neo Lithium, which is based in Toronto, wants to open a large lithium mine in Argentina.Critics of the reported $960-million deal believe it will impede Canada’s access to lithium, a key component of electric-vehicle (EV) batteries.Conservative and NDP MPs have criticized Ottawa for not doing a national security review of the deal, but the Liberal government says Neo Lithium is mining lithium carbonate, not lithium hydroxide, which is a more desirable form used in EV batteries.

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On Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Industry and Technology committee met virtually to discuss Canada’s access to critical minerals after China’s Zijin Mining Group bought Neo Lithium last year. Neo Lithium, which is based in Toronto, wants to open a large lithium mine in Argentina. In a harshly worded letter sent last week to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and obtained by the Star, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board blasted her for declaring the province “infested” with potato wart and suspending potato shipments to the U. Critics of the reported $960-million deal believe it will impede Canada’s access to lithium, a key component of electric-vehicle (EV) batteries. Conservative and NDP MPs have criticized Ottawa for not doing a national security review of the deal, but the Liberal government says Neo Lithium is mining lithium carbonate, not lithium hydroxide, which is a more desirable form used in EV batteries. after the fungus was found in two fields in November 2021. Since Neo Lithium doesn’t operate any mines in Canada, it’s unlikely the purchase threatens national security, said Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, speaking to the committee on Wednesday.

But the purchase “raises a more general and important question,” he said. The letter sent Jan. “What’s the policy of the Canadian government to support the production of critical minerals in Canada? What concrete actions can (Canada take) with our allies, for instance, under the U.S. “It is evident from reports from the (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) staff involved in technical discussions with the United States that no timelines have been established for a resolution, nor have they even obtained clarity on what ‘science’ is required in order to resume shipments,” the letter says.-led Energy Resource Governance Initiative, or the Canada-U.S.” Trade Minister Mary Ng and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were copied on the letter, alongside a host of provincial and federal officials.

Critical Minerals Action Plan (to support critical mineral production)? That’s where we need more attention and efforts.” Saint-Jacques warned that China has used trade as a diplomatic weapon in the past. They suggest that would make the matter a political hot potato to be solved quickly. For instance, Canada lost $4.5 billion in exports to China in 2019 after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested the year before, he said. Fearing that the U. It was a mistake not to review the security risk of the deal, which the government moved too quickly to approve, said Wesley Wark, a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, also testifying to the committee.

Not only should the review process be re-examined and made more robust, Canada has lost a junior mining company to China, he said. would ban entry of Canadian potatoes altogether and that getting such a ban lifted would be difficult, Bibeau suspended export permissions to the U. “In (Neo Lithium’s) own transactional documents, they needed more capital or a partner to … really bring this asset online,” Wark said, referring to the mine in Argentina. “They found that partner in a Chinese mining company, not a Western one. for all PEI potatoes. I think it’s important, and it should have been important to the national-security review, to reflect on that fact.” Canada needs to extract, process, and convert critical minerals domestically if it hopes to compete in the global EV industry, said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.S.

“Canada’s auto industry and its supplier industries don’t benefit from source lithium from outside of North America,” he said. “There’s no profitable advantage to incurring the cost of importation. Because fresh or processed potatoes destined for people’s tables — as opposed to seed potatoes that would be planted in the ground — pose no threat to humans or crops, Bibeau and her department have been pursuing a strategy of presenting the scientific and technical arguments to the U. These are the highest-cost components of the vehicle.” On Thursday, the committee will hear from Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne as it continues reviewing the purchase. in an attempt to get them to sign off on a resumption of trading. This story was copy-edited after publication.

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