China’s interest in western Nunavut gold mine is commercial: legal expert – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – May 13, 2020)

The recent news that TMAC Resources Inc., a Canadian junior mining company in western Nunavut, wants to sell its Hope Bay gold mine to a huge Chinese mining company, Shandong Gold, has alarmed some Nunavut residents.

That’s understandable, but Shandong Gold, better known as SD Gold, just wants to make money, says Michael Byers, a legal scholar who holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia and is is the author of “Who owns the Arctic?”

While general concerns about the probable sale of the mine to the Chinese-controlled company are justified, the Hope Bay acquisition looks more like a good business deal than a challenge to Canadian sovereignty, Byers said.

A lot of Canadian mining companies are now open to foreign acquisition due to the collapse of the economy and of commodity prices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

At the same time, many Chinese companies, like SD Gold, have “very deep pockets and are resilient to the downturn,” he said. “And they are finding that Canadian mining companies are available at fire sale prices.”

SD Gold is willing to pay $207.4 million for Hope Bay, which this past year produced about 32,290 ounces of gold. China has a “massive appetite for natural resources,” like gold, Byers said.

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