The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy

From the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois Phillipe Champagne

Foreword from the Minister of Natural Resources

Financial markets around the world are increasingly pricing climate risk into investment decisions. Smart money is flowing away from assets that are not compatible with a transition to a net-zero world and toward opportunities that are.

Just as any successful business must be capable of interpreting and reacting to changes in the business environment, countries must also be capable of thoughtful response and action to sustain and enhance their level of prosperity.

As the world moves toward a lower-carbon economy, a key question on which we must collectively focus is how to build on Canada’s comparative advantages in a manner that will create jobs, economic opportunity and prosperity.

Concurrently, geopolitical dynamics and skyrocketing demand have strained value chains, which are essential to the global energy transition. Canada’s European allies have recently experienced the consequences of dependence upon non-like-minded countries for strategic commodities such as oil and gas, and there is a strong desire to avoid similar vulnerabilities in emerging markets such as critical minerals.

Critical minerals present a generational opportunity for Canada in many areas: exploration, extraction, processing, downstream product manufacturing and recycling. This federal government is committed to seizing this opportunity in a way that benefits every region across the country. Critical minerals are the building blocks for the green and digital economy. There is no energy transition without critical minerals: no batteries, no electric cars, no wind turbines and no solar panels. The sun provides raw energy, but electricity flows through copper. Wind turbines need manganese, platinum and rare earth magnets. Nuclear power requires uranium. Electric vehicles require batteries made with lithium, cobalt and nickel and magnets. Indium and tellurium are integral to solar panel manufacturing.

It is therefore paramount for countries around the world to establish and maintain resilient critical minerals value chains that adhere to the highest ESG standards. It is also important that we partner with Indigenous Peoples — including ensuring that long-term benefits flow to Indigenous communities.

Canada is in the extremely fortunate position of possessing significant amounts of many of the world’s most critical minerals as well as the workers, businesses and communities that know how to scale up our exploration, extraction, processing, manufacturing and recycling of those minerals.

Canada is a world leader in environmental, social and governance standards with respect to mining, with Canadian industry advancing important initiatives such as Towards Sustainable Mining. We are also home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining and mineral exploration companies, with a presence in more than 100 countries and a combined market capitalization of $520 billion.

The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy

The Government of Canada has worked to build on these advantages in the past several years. We have invested in businesses and workers along the critical minerals value chain, such as the world’s most sustainable potash mine in Saskatchewan, mining of rare earth elements in the Northwest Territories and electric vehicle assembly in Quebec.

The government has also published the list of 31 minerals that Canada considers “critical” to signal to domestic and international investors where we will focus our efforts, and we have signed cooperation agreements with allies to advance this work together.

Now, I am pleased to release Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy. This Strategy, backed by nearly $4 billion in Budget 2022, sets out a course for Canada to become a global supplier of choice for critical minerals and the clean digital technologies they enable.

It sets the stage across the country for job creation, economic growth, the advancement of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and close cooperation with Canada’s allies — all in line with Canadian and international climate and nature protection objectives.

The Critical Minerals Strategy is the roadmap to seizing a generational opportunity. A roadmap to creating significant wealth and sustainable jobs in every region of this country. And a roadmap to making Canada a clean energy and technology supplier of choice in a net-zero world.

I look forward to working with Indigenous partners, labour groups, provinces, territories, industry and stakeholders in the implementation of this Strategy in the years to come.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

Foreword from the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The global clean energy transition is under way, and it represents the largest economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution. Canada is poised to seize this generational opportunity—particularly in the critical minerals sector, from mining to refining and from manufacturing to recycling.

Critical minerals are essential to Canada’s strategic industries. They are at the heart of key sectors that drive our economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, artificial intelligence, clean technologies, electric vehicles, energy and much more. They are vital to our everyday lives, and they are essential inputs for the global energy transition, including for wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and semiconductors.

As global demand for critical minerals skyrockets, Canada will be extremely well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks to our wealth of critical minerals, our excellence in mining, our skilled labour and our innovation ecosystem, Canada will become the world’s green supplier of choice for critical minerals.

This is particularly true as we continue to strengthen critical minerals supply and promote innovation and sustainable practices across critical minerals value chains. We are doing this in a way that supports regional economic growth; creates a more inclusive and highly skilled workforce; and upholds and strengthens our leading environmental, social and governance standards.

Canada’s leadership in this space has never been more important. The fragility of global supply chains is motivating governments and companies around the world to assess their supply chain resilience for commodities and manufactured goods. It is increasingly clear that Canada can—and will—be the solution.

Through the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy, we are putting our vision into action. We will incentivize new connections and linkages across Canada’s upstream and downstream critical minerals value chains, allowing us to build a strong critical minerals ecosystem while supporting leading-edge digital, clean technology and advanced manufacturing sectors. This strategy will help create and support hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs across the country, and it will cement Canada’s position as a leader in the low-carbon economy. Together, we must be bold, we must be ambitious, and we must seize the moment.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry