Canada moves to protect its mining investment in Zamba

Canada will announce agreements on Monday (today) designed to help promote trade with Zambia and Cameroon, home to iron ore and copper and other mineral deposits.

The foreign investment promotion and protection agreements, known as FIPAs, are designed to help protect Canadian investment abroad through legally binding provisions and to promote foreign investment in Canada.

“Our government is helping create jobs, growth and prosperity for families in every region of our country by ensuring investments by Canadian businesses are protected abroad,” Mr. Ed Fast, minister of international trade and minister for the Asia-Pacific gateway, said in a statement regarding the announcement.

The FIPAs are meant to give businesses greater confidence to invest at a time when resource nationalism has become one of the leading concerns of the global mining industry. The trend became especially pronounced in recent years as emerging nation’s sought to renegotiate terms of mining investments in the wake of booming prices for metals like gold and copper, trading several times where they were a few years ago even.

The move by Canada comes at the time the Zambian government is making arrangements to empower the country’s central bank to regulate and monitor all foreign-owned mining companies’ international financial transactions.

Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda tabled a draft bill in Parliament last week that seeks to to give extra powers to the central bank and allow it to regulate and monitor foreign exchange inflows and outflows and amounts which foreign-owned companies remit to their shareholders.

Mr. Fast is to formally announce the conclusion of FIPA negotiations with Cameroon and Zambia on Monday at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) international mining convention.

Canadian companies are heavily invested in the two countries, to the tune more than $6-billion in Zambia and $35-million in Cameroon.

In 2011, Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold company and one of Canada’s largest miners, spent $7.3-billion on the acquisition of Zambia-focused Equinox Minerals as it pursued assets in the African nation’s rich copper belt.

Canada has 24 FIPAs in force around the world. It has also concluded the agreements with Benin, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Tanzania and is pursuing FIPAs with Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Tunisia.


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