Chinese battery maker’s deal to acquire Canada’s Millennial Lithium will trigger full security review, expert predicts – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – September 30, 2021)

A top security expert predicts that a planned Chinese takeover of a Canadian critical minerals development company will trigger a full security review under the Investment Canada Act as tensions between the two countries remain elevated following China’s release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor this past weekend.

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. wants to acquire junior Canadian battery metals exploration company Millennial Lithium Corp. for $376-million. But before the deal can close, it must pass a security screening by Ottawa.

Vancouver-based Millennial Lithium is developing a project to mine the metal in Argentina. Lithium is one of a select list of critical battery metals that has seen its demand explode over the past decade with the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and government commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

The mining industry will be paying close attention to any clues Canada is taking a tougher stance against China following the release of the two Michaels. Ottawa’s decision on the takeover will set a precedent that could either encourage more Chinese acquisitions of Canadian companies or bring deal activity to a halt.

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