(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s crackdown on Chinese investment in critical minerals will make it harder for miners to produce the metals needed for the global energy transition, according to Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. founder Robert Friedland.
“We’re going to be deprived of all this Chinese capital in all these junior mining companies,” the billionaire mining magnate told a packed auditorium in Toronto on Sunday. “It’s really getting harder out there to be a miner.”
The Canadian government tightened its foreign investment laws in November to clamp down on foreign state-owned enterprises pursuing takeovers or investing in the mining industry. That same month, the government ordered three Chinese firms to divest from a trio of junior lithium explorers.
The new rules create a financial quandary for Canadian miners who’ve relied on China as a reliable source of funding. China has built up stakes in more than two dozen Canadian mining companies, including some of the industry’s biggest names, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Citic Metal Africa and Zijin Mining Group, two firms closely linked to the Chinese government, hold a combined 39.5% stake in Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines. Jiangxi Copper Co. owns 18.3% of Vancouver-based copper producer First Quantum Minerals Ltd.
Friedland, speaking at an industry conference hosted by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, said the rules make it “even harder” to produce metals like lithium, copper and nickel when demand for the metals is set to soar.
“We’re going to need a lot more money coming to junior mining. I mean, orders of magnitude more,” he said.
Canada’s new rules don’t identify countries, but the updates are part of a new policy approach toward China, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has described as an “increasingly disruptive global power” that disregards international rules and norms.
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