China’s Zijin plans stake in Canadian miner, testing security rules

12th January 2024 By: Bloomberg

China’s Zijin plans stake in Canadian miner, testing security rules

Zijin Mining Group plans to take a 15% stake in Canadian copper company Solaris Resources Inc., testing Canada’s national security rules following a recent crackdown on foreign ownership.

Vancouver-based Solaris, which explores for mineral deposits in the Americas, said Thursday that the $130-million investment would be used to advance a copper project in Ecuador. It would also give Zijin a seat on Solaris’ board of directors.

The proposed deal, which will be subject to a national security review by the Canadian government, follows tougher rules on investments by foreign state-owned entities in the country’s critical minerals sector. Such deals will only be approved “on an exceptional basis” if they’re considered a “net benefit” to the country, the government has said.

In 2022, the government ordered three Chinese investors to sell their stakes in a trio of Canadian lithium firms. Canada’s approval process typically involves a national security review that can take 200 days or more and would then require sign-off from lawmakers including the federal industry minister.

Solaris said its Warintza copper project in Ecuador is one of the “last remaining greenfield copper districts at low elevation and adjacent to infrastructure available globally.” The metal is among several critical minerals that are essential for electric-vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.