Canada to Discuss First Quantum Expropriation at G-8 Meeting

Canadian officials will discuss a move by the Democratic Republic of Congo to expropriate a First Quantum Minerals Ltd. copper project when world leaders meet this week.

Canada, which hosts Group of Eight and Group of 20 summits in the province of Ontario, will also protest the African nation’s actions in talks with international lenders such as the World Bank, said an official in the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

First Quantum’s copper and cobalt project, located near the town of Kolwezi, was shuttered last year after a two-and-a-half-year review of Congo’s mining contracts. The Vancouver-based company said it and its partners brought the case to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration in Paris on Feb. 1.

Canada’s finance ministry said it had raised the case at several World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings, hoping to tie it to the DRC’s debt negotiations.

“We have repeatedly expressed Canada’s serious concerns about the impact of the DRC’s government mismanagement of the country’s all-important resource sector during discussions on the DRC in various international forums,” Chisholm Pothier, a ministry spokesman, said in e-mailed comments.

First Quantum fully supports the Canadian government’s efforts, Sharon Loung, a company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

“It is outrageous that a country asking for billions of dollars of debt relief is habitually expropriating assets from the World Bank itself and companies that have legitimate government approvals and permits,” Loung said.

International Finance Corp., a partner of First Quantum in the Kolwezi project, is a member of the World Bank.

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