At the behest of two mining companies, Economic Development minister Jim Kenyon is visiting China again.
Piggy-backing on two previous familiarity tours to China, and visits to the Yukon from Chinese mining executives, Kenyon aims to build on past relationships.
“(The Chinese) tend to do business over meals,” said Kenyon on Friday.
“You could give them the best business plan going, and they won’t jump at it until you’ve had the right number of dinners and you’ve gotten to know each other and there’s a level of trust,” he said.
“While we teach them how to do business in Canada, they teach us how to do business in China.”
Yukon companies are seeking investment and access to Chinese markets.
The Chinese could be looking to buy property, product or equity positions in the Yukon.
But Kenyon doesn’t expect to bring home the bacon, this time around.
“We’re not going to come back with an announcement,” he said.
“We’re going over to bolster private companies, but I think the private companies will be making investment announcements within the next year.”
Two mining companies with Yukon interests asked Kenyon to go, he said.
But he wouldn’t name the companies.
“I’m not going to steal their thunder,” said Kenyon.
“There are two mining companies in the Yukon that are sending a delegate over there to talk investment, and they’ve asked that the minister and deputy go with them, to explain the regulatory requirements and that sort of thing.”
Several Chinese businessmen have visited potential Yukon minesites in the past year.
Most recently, a dozen Chinese visitors toured Sherwood Copper Corp.’s Minto property in December, said Kenyon.
“We’re looking good on three or four minesites and progressing with the talks.”
Harland Meade, president and CEO of Yukon Zinc Corp., confirmed his company asked for Kenyon’s ambassadorial assistance in China.
“The Yukon is very well endowed in zinc, and given the shortfall in zinc around the world, getting the Yukon on the map is good business,” Meade said Monday.
“There aren’t that many world class opportunities available, so why wouldn’t the Yukon be on the menu?” said Meade.
“Certainly, they want the feed, and there aren’t very many places they can go to get it.”
Kenyon’s Asian tour begins Wednesday, and extends well beyond China.
The agenda is “still fluid,” he said.
“We’re flying to Korea and looking at anywhere from two to four meetings there, with (Korea Resources Corp.) being the big one.
“Then we fly to Tokyo, and to be honest I don’t even know who in Tokyo we’re meeting, but I’ve seen (the possibility of) three meetings as well as a private dinner with the ambassador, to brief him on the state of mining and the rail study and the port access study and all of that stuff.
“Then we’ll move to Beijing, and I’ve seen (the possibility of) three or four meetings there.
“We’re working on the mining companies’ schedule.”
The last major investment group to visit the Yukon hailed from Shanghai.
But those talks are “way down the road,” and Shanghai is not on the agenda, said Kenyon.
And the companies are “still flipping a coin” about a visit to Hong Kong.
Previous China tours cost “around $45,000,” he said in a previous interview.
Kenyon is scheduled to return from China on February 28.