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No national security issue in Chinese takeover of Canadian lithium company: Liberals

Conservatives have been asking why no formal national security review was conducted last fall

The reflection of a worker is seen at the production line of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EV) at a factory in Huzhou, China.

The reflection of a worker is seen at the production line of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EV) at a factory in Huzhou, China.

Photo: Reuters

RCI

The federal Liberals say the pending takeover of a Canadian lithium mining company by a Chinese state-owned company raises no national security concerns.

The argument was made Thursday at an emergency meeting of the House of Commons industry committee, triggered by the Conservatives, who want to know why no formal national security review was conducted last fall even though Canada has deemed lithium to be a critical mineral essential to this country's economy.

Liberal MP Andy Fillmore, parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, says Neo Lithium Corp. is not really a Canadian company.

He says it only registered here to get on the Toronto Stock Exchange in a bid to raise money for what he called a dubious mine development project in Argentina.

Moreover, Fillmore says that mine involves lithium carbonate, not the lithium hydroxide used to manufacture batteries that are critical for electric vehicles.

Consequently, he says the company's takeover by China's Zijin Mining Group Ltd. is irrelevant to Canada's national security.

Neo Lithium Corp. itself describes the mine as the pre-eminent lithium brine asset in the world to meet global demand for electric vehicle batteries.

The Canadian Press 

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