Inuit org silent as feds review sale of Nunavut gold mine to Chinese company

“It is in the hands of Investment Canada”

A Chinese gold-mining company wants to buy TMAC Resources Inc., which owns the Hope Bay goldfield, located 150 km southwest of Cambridge Bay. A review by Investment Canada is now underway. (File image)

By Jane George

(Updated 8:30 p.m.)

The fate of the sale of TMAC Resources Inc. to Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. may not be known until early in 2021.

SD Gold, a Chinese state-owned company, wants to buy TMAC, which owns western Nunavut’s Hope Bay gold mine, for $207.4 million.

Investment Canada was expected to release its review decision about the mine by the end of this year’s third quarter, that is, by the end of September.

But TMAC said in a regulatory update issued late Aug. 13 that the company now expects closing of the transaction to occur in the fourth quarter of 2020.

But “it may extend to the first quarter of 2021,” TMAC said.

Feb. 8 is the “extended outside date in the arrangement agreement at nine months post-announcement,” TMAC said in its update.

But until this decision is released, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, which represents Inuit in western Nunavut’s five communities, is not saying whether or not it gave the federal agency a positive recommendation for the sale.

The KIA was among the minority shareholders that abstained from a shareholders’ vote in June, where the transaction was largely supported.

Contacted this week, Paul Emingak, the KIA’s executive director, said the organization had “no comments at this time” about the proposed sale: “It is in the hands of Investment Canada.”

In June, the KIA said it had been in discussions with SD Gold, but the company had not provided answers “in a timely manner.”

SD Gold has said it would, among other commitments, maintain contracting benefits to those serving Hope Bay, “including the continuity of existing significant contract business to local, Inuit-owned firms”; keep up the flow of royalties, fees and taxes to Inuit and territorial governments; and continue to grow Inuit employment at Hope Bay.

But the KIA said it planned to let the federal government know whether it would support the transaction on “the basis of it meeting KIA’s mandate and also on the basis of it being a net-benefit to Canada from the perspective of Kitikmeot Inuit,” KIA President Stanley Anablak said in a June 26 release.

In addition to its status as a minority shareholder, the KIA receives a smelter royalty of one per cent of the value of all gold produced at Hope Bay.

The KIA also receives $1 million a year to offset land management, environment permitting and the implementation of the 20-year Inuit impact and benefits agreement it signed with TMAC in 2015.

Under the Investment Canada Act, the government will look at whether the deal with SD Gold is likely to increase employment in Canada, as well as its economic and other impacts.

The Investment Canada Act also allows Ottawa to review a transaction for national security reasons.

TMAC said the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry extended the timeline to determine whether to initiate such a national security review until Oct. 19.

Until the government completes the federal review, the sale, approved by 97.08 per cent of TMAC’s shareholders at a special meeting held in June, remains uncertain.

Some hurdles have been cleared. On June 30, TMAC received a final order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approving the sale to SD Gold.

As well, the Commissioner of Competition issued a “no action” letter and terminated the waiting period, a Competition Act approval requirement, early.

Both TMAC and SD Gold are committed to working towards the satisfaction of all closing conditions, TMAC said in July.

On May 8, TMAC first announced the completion of the strategic review process and its agreement with SD Gold to purchase all of the outstanding shares of TMAC at a price of $1.75 per share in cash.

If the deal with the Chinese state-owned company is a go, the Hope Bay mine would be able to ramp up to full operating levels, TMAC President and CEO Jason Neal has said.

TMAC began producing gold in early 2017 from Doris, its first mine at Hope Bay.

But during the past year, TMAC has dealt with disappointing production results and some challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic

To help keep the new coronavirus out of Nunavut, TMAC sent its 60 or so Nunavut-based workers back home in March.

Recently, TMAC decided to purchase 2,000 Health Canada–authorized COVID-19 detection kits, along with swabs, tubes, personal protective equipment and lab time.

The tests are intended to reduce the risk of individuals with asymptomatic and latent infection with COVID-19 entering the workplace.

All of the testing items will be delivered directly to TMAC at its muster site in Edmonton.

“I am happy to report that we currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Hope Bay site or any of the Company’s offices. We continue to monitor and evaluate the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on our operations, liquidity and workforce at Hope Bay,” Neal said Aug. 13.

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(41) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavik bystander on

    Back when Quebec government launched “plan nord “ I said it better fit its purpose to call it “ plan Chinois or plan Indie “ cause the Chinese and companies from India are benefiting in Nunavik from this plan

  2. Posted by Very concerning on

    Very concerned if they buy part of Nunavut who knows they might want to buy out the entire Nunavut for mining if they get greedy!? Keep Inuit lands for Inuit! Don’t sell out

    • Posted by Bob on

      Don’t give Canada away to foreign interests. We will no longer have control of the land we call home.

      • Posted by Tom Leggett on

        No more selling of Canada to other countries.

  3. Posted by Juutai on

    I believe we should reject the sale based purely on the ongoing human rights abuses of the CCP state, as well as their track record for predatory acquisitions i.e. Sri Lanka. I don’t trust them to treat us well here in the north.

    • Posted by dave scarff on

      I AGREE!!

      • Posted by Pam on

        Totally agree with you 100%

  4. Posted by Linda Marion on

    Noooooo!!! Keep it in Canadian hands…. take care, give jobs, educate our local people in that area..How many of our mines are Not Cabadian owned???

  5. Posted by Nu res on

    Western Inuit orgs are selling your land for short time small profit. Why are they quiet? Cannot stand up for being taken over? History repeating itself, replace all your so called leaders.

    • Posted by History repeats for sure on

      It really is like the time the first Inuit settlers displaced the Sivullirmiut and took their land about 800 years ago. Now they pretend they are descended from them, just to wash over the past.

      • Posted by The Quiet Part on

        Ssshhh, that’s the quiet part.

    • Posted by It is always this way on

      Us Inuit people are being ripped off by the leaders we have
      voted for and trusted. Our own fault as usual.
      My British ancestors were cleared off their own land by
      their own chiefs and shipped out to Nova Scotia about 200
      years ago. About 70 , 000 people altogether.
      The chiefs made huge fortunes by renting out the land for
      grazing sheep.
      The attitude of leaders has not changed much, has it ?
      You are so right Nu Res.

  6. Posted by Alex on

    Another Chinese nail in the Canadian coffin?

  7. Posted by Old trapper on

    Say good by to nunavut will soon be Chinese law?

  8. Posted by yikes on

    The amount of anti-chinese racism here is disturbing, if not surprising.

    Its not like TMAC is an Inuit-owned company. And Canadian mining companies have a reputation for vile human rights abuses overseas.

    Y’all need to give you heads a shake.

    • Posted by What Racism? on

      Racism? I see no racism.

      Explain why you see any racism in these comments.

      The distrust of the Chinese companies is not because of who they are, but rather because of what they have done. That is not racism.

    • Posted by Aristotle on

      Dear Mr. “yikes”

      Everyone should be concerned about racism but in this case your concern is badly misplaced. Your statement is a piece of shallow whataboutery, entirely based on a tu quoque fallacy and therefore invalid.

      This is not about Chinese people. This is about a mining company that is owned by a brutal, authoritarian, one-party state that, in fact, brutalizes the Chinese people every day, especially the people of Hong Kong and the Uyghur people of the Xinjiang region.

      This totalitarian government has explicitly said that it wishes to control global trade routes, including the Northwest Passage. The question is whether our Canadian government should allow this dangerous government to buy a port on the NW Passage that could be used some day for military purposes.

      • Posted by Bonnie on

        I agree!

  9. Posted by Fact Checker on

    TMAC is a US company, not like it was Nunavummiut or Canadian. Also it is the company that they are selling, not the land. The land belongs to Inuit, in no way shape or form can we sell our land to a company let alone to a foreign company. They still have to abide by the rule of law in Canada, rules set in the Nunavut mining agreement, and whatever agreements were set with the KitIA, and NTI. And at any point if either KitIA or NTI is not happy.. everything stops.
    No need to be fearful of the scary foreigners taking our land.

    • Posted by Tom Leggett on

      This is a little more reassuring,I wish I knew so much more about these plans and deals.

  10. Posted by Observer on

    “China” would no more “own” Inuit Owned Land than Quebec does because of Agnico-Eagle. Chinese workers are not going to come flooding in, or any of the other fantasies people keep coming up with.
    Give your heads a shake, people.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      I beg to differ with you on the comment that Chinese workers are not going to come flooding in. There have been examples in the past of Chinese companies taking over Canadian mining companies and replacing a high percentage of top and middle managers with Chinese nationals.
      And surprise, in a few cases the now Chinese owned companies were even successful at replacing a high percentage of the lower paid “blue collar” workers with Chinese nationals as well. I believe that they did it with some hocus pocus about new mining methods and that the only experienced workers trained in the new mining methods were Chinese. FYI, this was in the metallurgical coal industry.
      In any case China is not our friend.
      How about this, we hold up the sale until China returns the Canadians who have been held on false “spying” charges. I don’t know enough about the Canadians who have recently received death sentences for smuggling drugs but I’m sceptical that justice is being done in these cases.

    • Posted by Stay Out on

      Canada should not let China do business here! They are human rights violators. They falsely imprison Canadians. They have a poor track record everywhere. Keep the minerals in the ground until someone worthy can extract them.

      • Posted by Tom Leggett on

        Why can’t Canadians do their own extraction.?

        • Posted by andreas kummer on

          I agree,why can’t we do our own extraction and benefit ourselves.These are our Canadian resources not any foreign companies.

    • Posted by William Atkinson on

      Chinese workers will come in trust in that just look to B.C chinese company bought mine site canadain governments gave them blessing to bring in there own Chinese people no hiring of canadains for a couple years so … it’s just not a good idea in any way shape or form

  11. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    KIA is not communicating with beneficiaries across the Kitikmeot region. They won’t give out details, why isn’t KIA consulting with beneficiaries?

    KIA has to learn how to cooperate with beneficiaries, they have to education beneficiaries of the Kitikmeot, doesn’t matter if your from East Kitikmeot West Kitikmeot.

    KIA Consult with beneficiaries!

    • Posted by right to consult on

      Indigenous people have the right to ‘meaningful consultation.’ cant move forward on indigeneous lands without it. i thing that will be your winning argument

      • Posted by Conslutations Need Two Parties on

        Yup, except that the RIOs are the mouthpieces who speak for indigenous folks, and they are being very quiet.

        • Posted by Truth teller on

          Maybe they are so quiet because some of their senior staff have been out of the territory for months, as far back as February. Beneficiaries deserve to know if these staff are being paid or on some sort of leave. Are they working from the south? Why have they not returned to Nunavut? Are they using Covid as an excuse to work from the south and be paid Nunavut wages? There is no excuse for them not to be able to travel back, do the quarantine in Edmonton, and get back to the communities and people that they supposedly serve.

          Or maybe it’s just because KIA awarded themselves a 4 day work week due to the stresses of the pandemic….. in a Territory that has had no confirmed cases and has largely returned to normal operations, though with some concessions for social distancing. Or is the 4 day work week a benefit given to staff actually in Nunavut as an equalizer due to staff having been away for months. Is the extra day off per week with or without pay. If paid, is the time being deducted from existing leave credits? Would KIA even answer these questions if asked?

    • Posted by not amused on

      I agree with you on this one, yes KIA does not communicate nor inform inuit on issues that relate to our land and/or language -this has been on-going for years.

  12. Posted by solution on

    To keep mining northern owned – solution, buy it, manage it, work it. Not as easy as it sounds. so stop whining and put your money and efforts to something other than flexing your typing fingers.

  13. Posted by Tagak Curley on

    Absolutely none Inuit owned land can be sold in Nunavut whether its resources rich or not!!! You could develop and produce and extract any minerals on Inuit owned Lands by way leased agreement if deal is negotiated with Inuit owners and if it included all relevant Inuit impact benefit agreements.
    Southern Canadians are not pragmatic investors in mineral rich territories therefore foriegn investors have little competition in taking over companies that struggle to develop and operate some mines in our mineral rich Inuit owned Lands including those in grown lands.

    • Posted by Seen It Before on

      Lease agreement.
      Sorry sir, there is no lease agreement. With a lease, you have to return the item at the end of the lease, or buy it.
      This is a sales agreement, and a very good one for the purchaser.
      They are not buying the land.
      They are buying the gold in the land.
      And they are paying $1 for gold that is worth $100!
      The benefits to Inuit are very small, compared to the value of the gold.
      And when the land is returned at the end of the “lease “it will be so poisoned that itwill be a very long time befor anything will grow on it.
      Mining companies, including Canadian mining companies, have been taking the gold and other minerals and leaving poisoned land for hundreds of years.
      Inuit will be left with the mess to clean up when the “company goes bankrupt”. The holding company always goes bankrupt to avoid clean-up and other impace commitments.
      Read the history. That’s why colonies such as Canada were created – to take the fish and the furs and the trees and the metals and the oil. In exchange they give disease, addiction and religion.

  14. Posted by Bert Rose on

    “by the end of this year’s third quarter, that is, by the end of September.’

    The end if the third quarter is December not September.

    • Posted by Tom the accountant on

      Mr. Rose that only works in government. In the business world the financial year follows the calendar year and begins on January 1.

      1st quarter – January 1 – March 30
      2nd quarter – April 1- June 30
      3d quarter – July 1 – September 30
      4th quarter – October 1 – December 31

      So “this year’s third quarter” really does stretch to the end of September

      • Posted by No, Tom on

        Actually, all the small businesses that I have dealt with, as a bookkeeper, follow the fiscal year. It starts on April 1, ends the following year on March 31.

  15. Posted by Ken on

    China buying everything around the world, soon they will own so much of the world.

  16. Posted by Dan Embree on

    Why is there no comment from the military on strategic positioning on the north west passage

  17. Posted by Marlene Campbell on

    We don’t want China or any foreign country to own our resources. They can buy our resources not own them. We want profits to stay in Canada

  18. Posted by General Mills on

    “Inuit Org remains silent” isn’t a headline, it’s a constant state of affairs.

    They are as opaque as the bottom of a coal bag on a moonless night and a huge reason there’s so little trust among “beneficiaries” in Nunavut.

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