Archive | Resource Nationalism

When it comes to Canada-China relations, it is time to look North – by Jessica Shadian and Erica Wallis (Policy Options – July 7, 2020)

Policy Options – Institute for Research on Public Policy

Canada could chart a new course for its relationship with China, and protect our interests, by thinking more strategically about the North.

If there is one thing that the COVID-19 crisis has not brought to a halt, it is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global network of land and maritime infrastructure projects. In fact, while businesses around the world fold or face bankruptcies, China is taking this opportunity to make the most of the global liquidation sale, including in Canada.

During May’s chaotic lockdown, China entered a bid to buy a struggling Northern mining company, TMAC Resources. TMAC operates the Doris North gold mine at its Hope Bay property in Nunavut. The property up until very recently was labelled as “Canada’s next gold mining district,” but TMAC encountered operational challenges.

In late June, TMAC’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the company’s sale to the second-largest gold mine company in China, state-owned Shandong Gold Mining Co. (“SD Gold”). Only five years ago, TMAC had successfully raised several hundred million dollars and began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Continue Reading →

Morneau not committing to keeping tougher foreign investment scrutiny post-coronavirus – by Amanda Connolly (Q107.com – May 24, 2020)

https://q107.com/

Despite warnings from national security experts that Canada needs a strategy to deal with hostile foreign takeover attempts post-coronavirus, Finance Minister Bill Morneau won’t say whether the government will consider keeping new rules in place after the economic crisis ends.

In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, Morneau was asked about a warning issued by the federal spy agency CSIS last week on the threat posed by hostile foreign takeovers of key Canadian companies, and what the government is doing to limit that risk.

“We need to make sure we protect our economy for the long term,” Morneau said without offering specifics. Continue Reading →

Politics and Porgera: why Papua New Guinea cancelled the lease on one of its biggest mines – by Jonathan Pryke and Shane McLeod (The Guardian – May 12, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Late in April, in the middle of a global pandemic and slow-boiling domestic economic crisis, the government of Papua New Guinea made the surprising announcement not to extend the mining lease on a goldmine that contributes roughly 10% of the country’s total exports.

The announcement not to renew the special mining lease for the Porgera mine was a shock, not least to the mine’s operator, Barrick Gold, and their joint venture partner Zijin Mining.

Porgera is one of Papua New Guinea’s longest running goldmines. Operating for 30 years in the highlands province of Enga, this large mine was expected to produce around 250,000 ounces of gold in 2019. Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea lashes out at Barrick for halting Porgera – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – April 28, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Papua New Guinea is threatening to take immediate control of Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD) Porgera mine after the company’s local unit halted operations over the weekend following news that the mining lease would not be renewed.

Barrick, the world’s second largest gold miners, and its joint venture partner, China’s Zijin Mining, had applied in June 2017 for a twenty-year renewal of the mine lease, which expired in August.

Since then, the company has faced backlash from landowners and residents over what they claim are negative social, environmental and economic impacts from the mine. Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea to take control of Barrick Gold mine – by Tom Westbrook and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – April 24, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea’s government will take control of the Porgera gold mine after refusing to extend Barrick Gold Corp’s lease over the facility, citing environmental concerns, Prime Minister James Marape said on Friday.

The decision ends months of uncertainty since the lease over the troubled project expired last August, and may end Barrick’s hopes of boosting output from a mine it said held potential as a long-life and high-margin asset.

Marape took power a year ago on a platform of economic nationalism that would review more closely its mineral resource assets, and comes as pressure rises on miners globally to improve their social and environmental responsibilities. Continue Reading →

MINING NATIONALISM RISES IN AFRICA – by Henry Sanderson, Harry Dempsey and Neil Munshi (Ozy.com – October 13, 2019)

3. Tuesday Homepage

Sierra Leone’s abrupt cancellation of an iron ore mining license last week has raised concerns about a resurgence of resource nationalism across the continent.

The action is the latest in a string of disputes between governments and mining companies in Africa, which is home to rich resources of iron ore, copper, gold and diamonds.

Gerald Group, a metals trader, said last Tuesday that its license to mine the steelmaking ingredient was canceled “with immediate effect” by the government, and it would pursue claims for more than $500 million in compensation. Continue Reading →

New PNG leader “taking back” economy, puts resources firms on notice – by Tom Westbrook, Jonathan Barrett and Sonali Paul (Reuters Africa – May 30, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

SYDNEY/BRISBANE (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister pledged on Thursday to “tweak and turn” laws governing how natural resources are extracted to help lift the vast South Pacific archipelago out of poverty.

James Marape, a former finance minister who became leader after winning a vote in parliament, put some of the world’s biggest resources companies on notice over a perceived lack of wealth flowing from their projects back to communities.

Marape, who hails from PNG’s poor but gas-rich highlands, had even quit the government in April after questioning a deal with France’s Total, which allows it, Oil Search Ltd and ExxonMobil Corp to begin work on a $13 billion plan to double gas exports. Continue Reading →

Zambia Files Notice of Plans to Seize Vedanta Copper Assets – by Taonga Clifford Mitimingi and Matthew Hill (Yahoo Finance – May 20, 2019)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Zambia’s government filed notification of plans to take over Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s domestic copper assets, President Edgar Lungu said. The southern African nation’s Eurobond yields surged to a record high and the currency hit a 3 1/2-year low.

The move marks an escalation in tension between the government and mine owners, after Lungu last week threatened to “divorce” Vedanta and Glencore Plc, two of the biggest employers in Africa’s second-largest copper producer. Relations have been simmering after the state earlier this year increased royalties and unveiled a plan to overhaul the value-added tax system.

Lungu mainly targeted Konkola Copper Mines, Vedanta’s local unit, in a weekend visit to Zambia’s Copperbelt province, where some companies are cutting production and firing workers. Continue Reading →

How countries are getting tougher with mining companies – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – April 4, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – A mix of political populism, higher commodity prices and the expectation electrification will spur demand for some raw materials has led resource-holding governments to change the rules for miners operating in their countries.

In most cases, governments are seeking to increase their share of profits, rather than all-out resource nationalism, although Mongolia has been trying to nationalise a stake in a copper mine. The toughness is not universal.

Some governments see the hardened stance of other countries as a chance to lure investment. Ethiopia is rolling out pro-business reforms after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed swept into office last year. Continue Reading →

Resource nationalism risk to investment on the rise, led by Africa: study – by Robert Perkins and Diana Kinch (S&P Global Platts – March 21, 2019)

https://www.spglobal.com/

London — Indirect forms of resource nationalism, particularly in Africa, are on the rise, threatening the investment climate in some of the world’s biggest oil and mineral producing nations, according to global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

A total of 30 countries have witnessed a significant increase in resource nationalism risks over the last year, including 21 major producers of oil, gas and minerals, Verisk Maplecroft’s latest Resource Nationalism Index shows. The country now most at risk is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been downgraded by five places in the rankings from a year ago to the highest globally alongside Venezuela.

Regionally, Africa is also home to 10 countries experiencing a growth in resource risks, including Tanzania (third highest risk), Zambia (17th) Gabon (23rd) and Equatorial Guinea (40th), according to the study. Continue Reading →

Arctic ambitions of China, Russia – and now the US – need not spark a cold war – by Nong Hong (South China Morning Post – March 11, 2019)

https://www.scmp.com/

While competition over access to resources is inevitable, security concerns aside, the three share many common interests. Recent US investment in the Arctic to counter Chinese and Russian influence heightens the need for partnership

The United States has always been a reluctant power in the Arctic. It has invested very little into its Arctic resources – with no real ports along Alaska’s Arctic waters, little military presence, and insufficient diplomatic engagement.

However, in February, the US government allocated a total of US$675 million in funding for new icebreakers, which military leaders deem vital for competing with Russia and China in the Arctic.

When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited America’s Nato ally, Iceland, on February 15, he also discussed China and Russia’s growing presence in the Arctic. It seems that the US has begun to shift its Arctic policy, now aimed at countering the growing influence of China and Russia in the high north. Continue Reading →

The Fight Between Miners and African Governments Is Just Getting Started – by Thomas Biesheuvel, William Clowes and Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – February 14, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

States are seeking a bigger share of benefits from their mineral riches.

Standing before hundreds of mining investors and executives last week, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo issued a firm warning: stop expecting supercharged profits from Africa’s mineral riches.

It’s a theme that has simmered for years, as governments across the continent seek a bigger share of benefits from their natural resources. The debate ratcheted up in 2018, with countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia—the continent’s No. 1 and 2 copper producers—becoming increasingly insistent that producers must pay up.

There’s also been a backlash against the terms under which foreign companies agreed to invest in the first place—many mining codes, investment pacts and joint ventures were drawn up based on lower commodity prices and by previous regimes. Continue Reading →

African Leaders Put Rich Nations On Notice That Days Of Cheap Resources Are Ending – by Lisa Vives (InDepthNews.net – February 12, 2019)

https://www.indepthnews.net/

Global Information Network – NEW YORK | CAPE TOWN (IDN) – African leaders had a new message for foreign companies seeking the diamonds, gold, rubies and emeralds so plentiful in desperate dirt-poor countries and so pricey when polished and sold in New York, Paris and Switzerland.

We’re no longer a cheap date. That message – in so many words – was heard again and again at this year’s posh African Mining Indaba (February 3-6) – a glittering conference in Cape Town, South Africa, that unites investors, mining companies, governments and stakeholders from around the world with the single goal of advancing mining on the African continent.

Not every African leader was threatening to pull “unusual tax incentives” from contracts with western companies. But at least one president drew a line in the sand, declaring it was simply unjust that Africa, rich in minerals sought after by the world, should remain inhabited by the poorest people in the world. Continue Reading →

African nations sense upper hand in minerals stand-off – by Barbara Lewis and Joe Bavier (Reuters U.S. – February 8, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – African nations with rich reserves of copper and cobalt needed for the shift to electric vehicles sense they have the upper hand in negotiations with mining companies that are struggling to secure better terms.

Days of talks at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town – Africa’s premier mining investment conference – yielded no tangible breakthrough between the miners and governments increasingly keen to reassert control over their natural resources.

Copper and cobalt reserves are giving nations such as Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo confidence because of the difficulty in finding supplies elsewhere to meet the expected surge in demand. This has emboldened them to seek higher tax revenues from foreign mining companies. Continue Reading →

Guatemalan mine conflict alarms industry across Latin America – by David Alire Garcia (Reuters U.K. – December 24, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

CASILLAS, Guatemala (Reuters) – A bitter drama playing out over a Guatemalan silver project forced to close by the courts has shocked miners throughout Latin America, sounding a warning to firms to approach indigenous issues more cautiously or pay the consequences.

Work at the Escobal mine, where U.S.-based Tahoe Resources has invested more than $500 million (395.3 million pounds), was abruptly suspended last year by judges pending consultation of nearby indigenous Xinca communities, a decision upheld by Guatemala’s top court in September.

Leaders of the Xinca, a mainly farming community which claims a 400,000-strong population, oppose the mine due to worries it will harm their ancestral land and water resources. Continue Reading →