Funding aims to prioritize critical minerals projects with manufacturing, processing and recycling applications
The Government of Canada is well aware that critical minerals are the building blocks for the transition to a low-carbon economy. With the accelerating growth of clean technologies, such as battery and electric vehicle manufacturing, and with our abundant critical minerals, clean energy supply and innovative firms, Canada is well placed to take advantage of this generational opportunity. Our strong and sustainable mining sector and skilled workforce mean that Canada has what it takes to be the global supplier of choice for critical minerals and the technologies they enable.
To achieve this goal, Budget 2022 proposed $1.5 billion in targeted funds available through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) aimed at accelerating investments in critical minerals projects. Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, released criteria for those projects eligible for the fund.
Qualifying projects must focus on critical mineral processing, manufacturing and recycling; however, mining projects that show exceptional innovation benefits and strong vertical integration to grow domestic value chains will be considered. These future projects have to meet specific criteria and target 1 or more of the 31 minerals Canada has identified as “critical,” with priority given to the 6 most significant minerals: lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper and rare earth elements. Critical minerals projects selected for investment will be expected to contribute to a more sustainable and competitive economy with a particular focus on the following sectors: clean technologies, including renewable energy sources, information and communications technology, and inputs to advanced manufacturing. Priority will be given to advanced-stage projects capable of demonstrating significant financial and technical readiness.
Implementation of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy is being coordinated through the Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence at Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial partners, Indigenous communities, industry stakeholders, and others. Investments made to date through the Strategic Innovation Fund include a $27 million contribution to E3 Lithium Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, for the direct extraction of lithium from brines and a $222 million investment to support Rio Tinto Fer et Titane in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, in producing an array of critical minerals like titanium and scandium and decarbonizing operations through innovative smelting technology.
These investments will advance the development of value chains, enabling the transition to a green economy while paving the way for digital economy transformation. A strong domestic mineral ecosystem will allow Canada to maximize value-added economic opportunities, from mineral extraction to recycling, while also creating good high-paying jobs for Canadians all across the country.
“Canada has everything it takes to be a leading force in critical minerals processing, manufacturing and recycling. We already have a growing assortment of key innovative projects that are being developed right here in Canada that will allow us to build a stronger domestic critical minerals ecosystem. And through strategic investments, our government is ensuring that Canada can be a leader in this growing global industry, which will create well-paying jobs across the country, especially in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Critical minerals are a generational economic opportunity for Canada. From exploration and extraction to processing and advanced manufacturing to recycling, investments at every step of the value chain offer the opportunity for economic growth and the creation of good, sustainable jobs, all while enabling the clean technologies we need for a low-carbon future. Through SIF, Canada is making smart, targeted investments in the most promising projects, helping to ensure we are the global supplier of choice for critical minerals and the technologies they enable.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources
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