The Canadian company Central America Nickel (CAN) wants to buy Fenix, taking advantage of the pressure exerted by the United States on the Swiss company Solway
Supposedly with the backing of the US government, the Canadian company Central America Nickel is seeking to acquire the assets of the Swiss company Solway Investment Group in Guatemala.
As reported by the international magazine Newsweek in the article “US role in infamous nickel mining deal revealed”, amidst Solway’s accusations of Russian influence, a transaction to acquire the Fenix reserve in the province of Izabal, Guatemala, could take place. The Montreal-based, U.S.-backed Canadian corporation is seeking to acquire this resource, which is valued at $1 billion.
It is clear that the Canadians have no understanding of the social situation of the original inhabitants of Izabal or the ecological characteristics of the province. Their motivation is purely economic, not Guatemalan interests. In this case, Solway has not received any offer from the Canadian company Central America Nickel, which seems more like a hostile takeover attempt than a commercial relationship.
Republica reported that it sought information on the matter from Guatemala’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, which also has no transparent information on the fair acquisition of the Fenix mine. Currently, the Guatemalan nickel company (CGN) owns the rights to exploit the mineral resources of Niquegua Montúfar and Fenix, according to the department.
Newsweek assures that the legal representative of the company interested in the purchase acknowledged in a statement that the company requested approval from the US Treasury Department to acquire sanctioned assets through its duly incorporated subsidiary in the United States in January 2023 for Solway’s assets and properties in Guatemala.
The memo obtained by Newsweek describes the Phoenix mining company as a world-class asset with rights to mine nearly 40 million tons of nickel ore reserves containing 1.86 percent nickel, plus an additional 77 million tons of resources. In 2022, U.S. nickel mines processed approximately 18,000 tons of nickel ore in aggregate. Solway reports that Fenix produces more than 1,000 tons of nickel each month.
It is clear that the Canadian company Central America Nickel is trying to acquire these opportunities using whatever tools are available, even if they are not entirely legal in Guatemala. In the future plans of the Canadians is the transfer of these assets to a third U.S. company. The U.S. and Canadian embassies are also mentioned as active parties in the purchase, although no official statements have been made.
In this situation, it is important to maintain a legal balance in Guatemala. Businesses operating in the country must have security guarantees. Otherwise, international companies will have no confidence or intention to invest capital in Guatemala’s development.