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Shrugging off rising tensions, China's largest gold miner opens office in Toronto

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Gabriel Friedman
National Post, Toronto
Thursday, July 25, 2019

At a time when Sino-Canadian diplomatic tensions run high, China’s largest gold miner, Shandong Gold Group Co., Ltd. gathered several dozen bankers, lawyers, local mining executives and media at a downtown Toronto hotel to celebrate the company’s new Bay Street office.

Board chairman Chen Yumin, who travelled from China to attend the event, said Toronto remains a capital of talent and finance for the mining industry. By opening an office in the city, he said Shandong hopes to build relationships with Canada’s mining community to help it grow into one of the top ten largest gold miners in the world by 2020.

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“The reason that we opened a Toronto office is not just (about) the relationship between Canada and China,” Yumin said through a translator during a press conference following the event. “What we are looking at is global reach.”

Its office, which opened in January and will be staffed by a geologist, is located in the Royal Bank Plaza, a shimmering gold skyscraper in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Shandong does not currently have any mines in Canada, but said it operates four of the ten largest gold mines in China.

Yumin pointed to Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp., currently the largest gold miner in the world by market capitalization, which has mines in the U.S., South America, Africa and all over the world, but derives only a tiny portion of its gold from Canada, and said Shandong has similar ambitions.

The two companies have been working together since 2017 when Barrick sold Shandong a 50 per cent stake in its Veladero mine, the largest gold mine in Argentina, expected to produce as much as 500,000 ounces of gold this year.

Since then, the two have forged agreements to work together on additional mines and exploration in South America, and today Barrick currently owns around 18 per cent of Shandong, which is listed on exchanges in Hong Kong and China. ...

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