Industry Minister mum on when he became aware of Chinese firm’s plans to acquire Neo Lithium – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 27, 2022)

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne would not say when he was notified of Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.’s ZIJMF unchno change plans to acquire Canadian lithium company Neo Lithium Corp., despite being repeatedly pressed in a parliamentary committee.

During a hearing called on Thursday by the industry and technology committee, Mr. Champagne was asked on multiple occasions when he became aware of Zijin’s plans to buy Neo Lithium, but he would not answer. Instead he repeatedly insisted the deal was subject to a rigorous security review.

When Mr. Champagne was asked if he got a briefing from his officials on the Neo Lithium transaction, he declined to answer, saying he wasn’t at liberty to give details because of confidentiality requirements under the Investment Canada Act, or ICA.

Zijin’s acquisition of Toronto-based Neo Lithium was announced in October, and approved in the shortest time frame possible under the ICA.

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