China has encroached on Canada’s critical minerals industry, with almost no obstruction from Ottawa – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 13, 2022)

For the past two decades, China has built up a powerful position in Canada’s critical minerals and mining sector, with little oversight from Ottawa

Three years ago, Sinomine Resource Group Co., a Chinese company, quietly bought the Tanco mine in Manitoba. At the time, Tanco was one of the world’s few sources of the critical mineral cesium, a key input in atomic clocks and radiation detectors. The mine had previously produced lithium, a battery metal used in electric cars.

Even though Tanco was owned by an American chemicals company, Cabot Corp., Canada’s federal government had the authority to block the acquisition on national security grounds. But far from blocking the deal, Ottawa appears not to have given it a second glance.

Earlier this year, under its new Chinese ownership, the Tanco mine started producing lithium and shipping it back to China, where it is fed into the country’s massive domestic electric car industry. Tanco is now the only operating lithium mine in Canada, and Sinomine has plans to expand production over the next few years.

“It’s known for having the world’s highest grade lithium. The grade is so high that nobody had the technology to process it,” said mining investor and activist shareholder Peter Clausi. “And the morons let it go.”

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