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Cochrane-area cesium explorer willing to stand its ground against Ottawa

Power Metals and Hong Kong partner plan to appeal federal divestment order

A junior miner searching for cesium and lithium in northeastern Ontario said its Hong Kong financing partner intends to appeal a Canadian government order to pull its investment from the critical minerals exploration project.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual Power Metals said of its ongoing exploration drilling at its Case Lake Project site, 80 kilometres east of Cochrane, near the border with Quebec.

Power Metals and Sinomine were among three Hong King and Chinese-financed exploration partnerships named yesterday by Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne as being forced with withdraw its foreign investment in the critical minerals exploration play in northeastern Ontario.

National security has been cited as a reason for Ottawa’s clampdown on foreign investment in domestic natural resources projects by countries deemed by Ottawa as hostile to Canada's interests.

In a news release, Power Metals took issue with Ottawa that Sinomine has an “alleged relationship with Government of the People’s Republic of China." Power Metals said it's reviewing the matter with its legal counsel, Sinomine, and the feds "with a view to advancing development of the Case Lake Project by whatever means necessary.” 

“Drilling and exploration activities will continue as usual as we strive to increase the value of the property,” the company said in its release.

Earlier this year, Sinomine made an equity investment of $1.5 million into Power Metals as part of negotiating an offtake agreement to purchase all the production from Case Lake should the property go into commercial production as a mine.

"While we are surprised by Canada's stance towards Chinese investment into Canada's critical minerals industry, it clearly shows that they see the opportunity and assets of Power Metals as too valuable for such foreign investment,” Power Metals CEO Johnathan More said in a news release.

“Power Metals has made a substantial discovery of cesium, lithium and tantalum and this political gamesmanship demonstrates the extreme value of Power Metals assets. Sinomine will respond to the Canadian government shortly as they look at the appeal process," he said.

Case Lake is Power Metals’ flagship project in an emerging area where the Vancouver company has been finding high-grade resources in lithium, cesium and tantalum; all high-tech metals deemed critical and strategic by Ottawa.

The company has been releasing a steady flow of news updates on its exploration drilling success involving a recent high-grade cesium discovery on the West Joe Dyke part of the property.

Sinomine, a major player in the global cesium space, also owns the Tanco cesium, lithium and tantalum mine in Manitoba. Power Metals points out in its latest investor presentation that there is a direct rail connection between Cochrane and the Tanco Mine site. 

Various processed forms of cesium are used in oil and gas drilling applications, infrared detectors, night vision goggles, photoelectric cells, atomic clocks, global positioning satellites, internet and cell phone applications.