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Chinese companies seek partnerships at Toronto int'l mining convention

03-05-2012 14:21 BJT

TORONTO, March 5 (Xinhua) -- A number of Chinese companies from the mining sector were present Sunday at a major industry convention in Toronto, hoping to pave their way into Canada.

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada's (PDAC's) International Convention, running from Sunday to Wednesday, is made up of a trade show, investors exchange, short courses to raise expertise, and most importantly, networking.

The event attracted about 28,000 delegates last year, of which over 300 were from China. PDAC Executive Director Ross Gallinger said the number has steadily increased.

"I definitely see more presence of China -- Chinese companies walking the floor of the trade show," he said. "There's definitely a bigger conversation involving China as well as other countries."

The recent deal signed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his trip to China that would allow an increase in uranium exports to China has set up a relationship between the two countries into what Gallinger described as a two-way street.

He said China was a very important partner in terms of its needs for metals and minerals, Chinese investment in Canada as well as Canadian investment in China. He called it a "sort of two-way street" relationship.

"I think there's a greater opportunity moving forward for China and other companies in terms of being suppliers to the industry," Gallinger added.

David Ming Qi, vice general manager of Yunnan Metallurgical Group Co., Ltd, said the vast Canadian resources, good legal and financial systems and political stability were key factors in their decision to expand to Canada.

Qi, as the leader of one of China's largest mining companies which operates a large lead and zinc project in Canada, hoped to gain exposure through the four-day convention.

"This is our first appearance in PDAC and even though we attended this conference a couple of years ago by a few attendees from our company, this is the first time we set up our booth to showcase and tell the audience who we are and what we do in Canada," he said.

Derrick Zhang, chief financial officer of China Gold International Resources, a Canadian-based gold and copper producer and the only listing vehicle of China National Gold, had the same sentiments.

"We want to present our achievements from 2011 to our investors and tell them our potential, opportunities and what our strategy is in the future," he said.

The partnerships help supply China's voracious commodity demands and boost Canada's economy at the same time.

"We address social responsibility. When we came to Canada, we took care of all the environmental issues, all the social issues and First Nation issues," said Zhang. "For investment in Canada, we create a lot of job opportunities for the local people and the Canadian people."

However, Qi said there were still issues that needed to be addressed in order for Chinese companies to expand their operations smoothly to Canada.

"I believe the visa policy in this country was implemented some 30 to 40 years ago. It doesn't fit today's situation," he said. "We wanted to send our technical management people here but the local policy is that as long as they can hire local people, they don't want any foreigners to come into the country."

Gallinger said Canada's mining industry was booming right now. Commodity prices were at high levels despite market uncertainties in Europe. The emergence of China, Russia and India had a dramatic effect in keeping commodity prices high and therefore boosting the mining industry in Canada, he said.

The convention is expected to have a huge economic impact on Canada's mining industry.

"People are having conversations, doing deals, looking at individual's exploration projects, looking at how they can get involved, how they can invest, how they might want to buy into those companies either as a shareholder or a company itself, so there's a lot going on," Gallinger said.

In addition to a direct impact on the local mining industry, the event would also generate a boost to the Canadian tourism and hospitality industry through increased revenue in hotels, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment providers.

"One impact of this convention on the City of Toronto is that this convention contributes 72 million Canadian dollars to the economy just for this convention itself that employs 1,000 people," said Gallinger.

The attendance of the convention, which first began in 1932, has grown exponentially. Organizers say the number of attendants this year could surpass the record-breaking number in 2011.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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