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In a move to safeguard national interests amid global geopolitical competition, Canada’s Industry Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, has announced stringent measures governing foreign capital in the mining sector.

Emphasising the need for clarity on the government’s stance, Champagne declared that future mergers and acquisitions involving Canadian mining firms engaged in critical minerals operations would only be sanctioned under “the most exceptional of circumstances”.

The Minister clarified that while foreign investment remained important for smaller Canadian firms to further exploration and site development efforts, the government’s primary focus was on safeguarding national security and economic interests.

“Canada welcomes foreign investment and recognises its importance,” he affirmed, but said the country had to “balance strategic interests while supporting the development of resources”.

Transactions involving important Canadian mining companies engaged in significant critical minerals would be subject to “net benefit” reviews under the Investment Canada Act.

“This high bar is reflective of the strategic importance of Canada’s critical minerals sector and how important it is that we take decisive action to protect it,” said Champagne.

The announcement follows the approval of Glencore’s $6.93-billion acquisition of Teck Resources’ steelmaking coal business under strict conditions. Glencore last year attempted a hostile takeover of Teck, which is a major copper producer.

The move is part of Canada’s broader strategy to assert control over key minerals such as copper, lithium and nickel, crucial for technologies such as electric vehicle batteries and defence systems.