U.S. Quietly Involved In Scheme To Loosen China’s Grip On Nickel

(PatriotWise.com) — America is helping a Canadian company to purchase a nickel mine in Guatemala. Based in Montreal, Central America Nickel (CAN) intends to acquire the Fenix Nickel Project near El Estor, worth around $1 billion. Switzerland-based Solway Investment Group owns the mine, which the US placed under sanctions amid allegations of Russian influence-peddling.

A leaked memo discussing the potential sale suggests that the relationship between CAN and Solway will end soon, but Solway would not confirm the memo’s authenticity. The company also denies that it has any intention of selling the facility.

According to the memo, CAN is working closely with a US diplomat at the American embassy in Guatemala who has assisted in connecting the Canadian company with the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to help secure funding. The leaked document also claims that the DFC has agreed to insure the risk and provide $300 million in funds. CAN hopes to acquire the facility, which produces more than 1,000 tons of nickel each month, for a discounted rate due to US sanctions.

America imposed sanctions last November against the leader of the mining operations in Guatemala, Dmitry Kudryakov. The US accused Kudryakov of leading bribery and corruption schemes. A statement from the government said, “The Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on one Russian individual, Dmitry Kudryakov, and one Belarusian individual, Irina Gennadievna Litviniuk, for their role in corruptly exploiting the Guatemalan mining sector.”

Nickel is one of the vital components required for producing smartphones, electric vehicles, as well as a number of weapons systems. China dominates the market. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), China is home to approximately 35% of the world’s nickel, 58% of lithium, 65% of cobalt, and 87% of rare earth elements (REE). In 2018, the United States imported 98% of its REE from China. The communist country supplies the same amount – 98% – of the rare earth elements imported by the European Union.

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