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Lithium mine takeover by Chinese company did get thorough security review: Champagne

Takeover was reviewed

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the pending takeover of a Canadian lithium mining company by a Chinese state-owned company was subjected to a thorough national security review — contrary to what some experts and Conservative politicans have asserted.

Champagne says the critics don't understand the process required under the Investment Canada Act for reviewing all foreign investments, no matter how small, which includes an evaluation by multiple federal departments and national security and intelligence agencies, as well as consultation with Canada's allies.

Under additional guidelines Champagne himself introduced, he says that review is enhanced when the transaction involves a state-owned enterprise or critical minerals — as was the case with last fall's proposed takeover of Neo Lithium Corp. by China's Zijin Mining Group Ltd.

Only if that initial review concludes there's any potential risk to Canada's national interests or security is the matter referred to cabinet to decide whether to launch a more intensive security review.

In the case of Neo Lithium, he says that was not necessary because the initial review found there was no potential risk.

Champagne was testifying at a meeting of the Commons industry committee, triggered by the Conservatives who contend the Neo Lithium transaction should have been subjected to an extended security review.



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