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There’s no reason at all to object to the decision of Greg Rickford, the Minister of Natural Resources, to allow an Australian company, Paladin Energy Ltd., to develop a uranium mine in Newfoundland and Labrador, 140 kilometres northeast of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, with Australians holding the majority of the shares.
On the contrary, the odd thing is that Paladin had to seek permission to do so, as a foreign corporation – over and above the similarly unnecessary process of the foreign investment review under the Investment Canada Act, with its mysterious “net benefit” criterion. In the rejected takeover by BHP Billiton of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan in 2010, Ottawa even more mysteriously declared Potash to be a “strategic asset,” not a term used in the ICA.
The federal government has had a “non-resident ownership policy in the uranium mining sector” since 1987. The policy allows for an exemption from the requirement of at least 51-per-cent Canadian ownership if there aren’t enough Canadians who want to build the prospective uranium mine in question.
In March, 2011, the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan killed almost 16,000 people, and Japan shut down all but two of its reactors.
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