Canada rejects bid by China’s Shandong for Arctic gold mine on security grounds

By Tom Daly and Jeff Lewis

a close up of a rock: FILE PHOTO: Gold nuggets are displayed at the PDAC annual conference in Toronto

FILE Picture: Gold nuggets are shown at the PDAC annual convention in Toronto

(Reuters) -Canada rejected Shandong Gold Mining’s bid for indebted TMAC Assets, the providers claimed, amid issues about a Chinese point out-owned entity functioning in the country’s sensitive Arctic area.

Canada and Australia have elevated scrutiny on offers by condition-operate Chinese miners this 12 months amid economic dislocation induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ottawa’s decision could additional strain Canadian-Chinese relations, already destroyed by Canada’s December 2018 arrest of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Main Economical Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.

“There were fears about a Chinese condition-owned business using over a mine in the considerably north and it was eventually turned down,” an Ottawa resource familiar with the matter reported on Tuesday. The supply declined to say what those people worries had been.

Shandong Gold, owned in part by the province of Shandong and a single of China’s greatest gold miners, claimed Tuesday it experienced been given recognize of a final decision produced by Canadian authorities on Dec. 18 that it really should not move forward with the deal. It included that the sale was blocked on countrywide safety grounds.

Gold producer TMAC stated late Monday it been knowledgeable of this sort of an buy under the Financial commitment Canada Act.

TMAC shares fell as much as 16.2% Tuesday prior to recovering fairly as investors nervous about its skill to repay financial debt.

The miner explained on Nov. 5 it had about C$99 million in income on hand, limited of the C$169.7 million of debt due in June.

“Specified Canada’s sensitivities with the superior North and extra current tensions concerning Canada and China, we had predicted the Canadian governing administration would not approve the proposed order,” Laurentian Bank analyst Barry Allan reported.

TMAC now faces a probably “messy refinancing which could eventually damage shareholders,” he said.

Shandong Gold mentioned in May perhaps it would shell out C$230 million ($179 million) to acquire TMAC, which operates the Doris mine in the Hope Bay area of the northern and strategically critical territory of Nunavut.

Canada in October introduced a nationwide protection overview of the proposed acquisition that was extended final month.

Mineral-rich but thinly populated, Nunavut is viewed by Canada as vital as retreating sea ice opens up prospective new delivery routes.

Canada in Could 2018 blocked a proposed C$1.51 billion takeover of building business Aecon by China Communications Development Co Ltd, also on national security grounds.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced tension to toughen the country’s stance on China.

Canada’s office of Innovation, Science and Economic Enhancement, which oversees overseas expenditure, reported in a assertion that Canada stays open up to financial commitment but declined even further remark, citing confidentiality provisions.

TMAC has not resolved regardless of whether to relaunch a sale process, a spokeswoman mentioned, declining further more remark.

($1 = 1.2865 Canadian pounds)

(Reporting by Tom Daly supplemental reporting by Jeff Lewis in Toronto extra reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa Enhancing by Kirsten Donovan and Steve Orlofsky)