How Chinese investment and pull increasingly drive our mining sector
After spending billions of dollars and two decades trying — and failing — to build a mine on the border of Chile and Argentina, Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. is reverting to a predictable strategy: it wants to partner with a Chinese company.
Earlier this month, the largest gold miner in the world announced that it asked Shandong Gold Group Co. Ltd, a smaller, younger, less well-known state-owned Chinese company, to study whether its long-delayed Pascua-Lama mine could be economically built if the Chilean part of the deposit were left in the ground — something Barrick’s own geologists and engineers thus far have not justified to management’s satisfaction.
It is far from Barrick’s first partnership with a Chinese company, but in the past it partnered by selling stakes in its mines and forming joint ventures.
Now, Barrick is pivoting from asset sales for debt reduction to growth, and bringing a Chinese company into its fold this time as a source of technical expertise and influence, in addition to capital.
Across Canada, as mining companies have struggled to raise money, many have turned to Chinese, often state-owned, companies, which have evolved from a source of capital into various types of partnerships and leadership roles.
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