Home » Black billionaire Michael Lee-Chin backs Canada’s nuclear industry

Black billionaire Michael Lee-Chin backs Canada’s nuclear industry

Lee-Chin anticipates small modular reactors (SMRs) and micromodular reactors as the dominant form of future nuclear energy

by Omokolade Ajayi

Michael Lee-Chin, a Jamaican-Canadian businessman who is one of the world’s Black billionaires, has confirmed his investment in Canada’s nuclear energy sector and expressed strong bullish sentiment on the industry’s future.

In a recent interview with BNN Bloomberg, Lee-Chin, Chairman of Portland Holdings, highlighted the historical correlation between energy source transitions and economic power shifts. He believes a similar shift towards nuclear power is “inevitable” in the wake of the Paris Agreement, as countries strive for net-zero emissions by 2050 and move away from fossil fuels.

“We need to replace that base fuel… and supplant it,” Lee-Chin stated. We need to replace it with something that’s always on, highly scalable and energy-dense, but clean. And the only such source known to mankind is nuclear fission.”

Lee-Chin backs SMRs for nuclear future

Lee-Chin anticipates small modular reactors (SMRs) and micromodular reactors as the dominant form of future nuclear energy. These factory-produced reactors offer faster deployment times. “So what we’re doing, we’re investing in everything upstream of the SMR and downstream of what SMRs will enable, like hydrogen as an example.”

He also identified Canada, particularly Ontario, as “uniquely positioned” to capitalize on this nuclear opportunity. Ontario’s integrated model, combining nuclear power consumption with domestic access to raw materials, presents a strategic advantage. “It would be a shame if Ontario didn’t build an industry to take advantage of the huge demand for…nuclear expertise in all areas.” he said.

Lee-Chin’s $1.3 billion success: A resilient path

Lee-Chin’s wealth of $1.3 billion stems from successful investments in financial institutions like National Commercial Bank Jamaica and AIC Limited. Notably, he acquired AIC in 1987 when it held less than $1 million in assets.

By 2002, his leadership transformed the Canadian wealth management and mutual fund firm into a $10-billion powerhouse. While the 2008 recession impacted the company, Lee-Chin’s commitment to sustainable investments continues.

Strategic partnership for healthcare and energy

Last year, one of his companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MBM Holding, a UAE-based investment firm. This partnership prioritizes co-investments and collaborations in healthcare and sustainable energy sources. Renewable energy, nuclear medicine, and targeted radionuclide therapy are core focus areas, aiming to boost investments in critical sustainability sectors.

The MoU aligns with the UAE’s vision for promoting sustainable development, investment, and innovation across scientific fields. It further complements the UAE’s Year of Sustainability initiative, designed to pave the way for the country’s hosting of COP 28, a global event focused on achieving economic growth alongside environmental sustainability.

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