Washington D.C., United States — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 December 2009 – United States mining company Firstgold still hopes to complete a partnership deal with the Chinese despite American national security concerns that could cause President Barack Obama to block the transaction.
Reuters reports from here that Firstgold has been told by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that it would recommend that Obama reject the plan for China’s Northwest Nonferrous International Investment Company to buy 51% of the company.
CFIUS said the US$26.5 million (R198 million) deal to develop the Relief Canyon mine, near Lovelock in Nevada, had raised national security concerns due to its proximity to the Fallon Naval Air Station and other military installations, according to Firstgold chief executive Terry Lynch.
The Navy uses Fallon, which is over 80 km from the Relief Canyon mine, for tactical aviation training.
If Obama rejects the deal, it would be only the second time an American president has intervened to block an investment on national security grounds, a trade attorney said.
Reuters reports, however, that for China it would form part of a growing roster of overseas resources deals that have been blocked following foreign government intervention, in what the Chinese see as a trend of protectionism in Western nations.
Once Obama gets the CFIUS recommendation, he has 15 days to announce his decision.