Transaction the latest example of how the West’s rivalry with China is reshaping business
Ultra Lithium Inc., one of three Canadian miners left to find new backers after Ottawa’s snap decision to block Chinese investment in the critical minerals industry, said it avoided a “crisis situation” by finding an alternative source of funding — six months after it was forced to cut ties with Qinghai-based Zangge Mining Co. Ltd.
Afzaal Pirzada, Ultra Lithium’s vice-president of exploration, called the China order a “setback.” After much deliberation, Vancouver-based Ultra decided to sell its Laguna Verde lithium brine project in Argentina’s Catamarca province to Australia’s Power Minerals Ltd. in exchange for a stake in the buyer.
The transaction is the latest example — albeit a relatively small one — of how the West’s rivalry with China is reshaping business. Ultra Lithium began 2022 keen to take advantage of growing demand for the minerals needed to make batteries.
It had a property and a partner in Zangge Mining that had developed a cutting-edge approach to extracting lithium. But in the background, geopolitical tensions were getting worse and by the end of the year, the United States and other democratic powers were using policy to actively reshape supply chains for critical minerals.
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