Critical Minerals: Canada Seeks to Speed Up New Mining Projects

by | 14. Feb 2024 - 09:07 | Politics

The government plans to accelerate permitting processes and increase funding for regulatory agencies.

Canada aims to boost its critical minerals mining sector by drastically reducing regulatory steps and speeding up permitting processes for new projects, energy minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in an interview with Reuters. He clarified that the officials involved are seeking ways to carry out permitting and environmental assessments of new mining projects simultaneously instead of in succession. In addition, the Canadian government aims to increase funding for the regulatory agency to work through the necessary paperwork.

The permitting phase is not the only hurdle new mining projects have to clear, however. Following the discovery of mineral deposits, multiple feasibility studies must be conducted, and following the permits, setting up operations also takes multiple years until production can begin. Until new mines can be operational, it will still take multiple years.

Positioning Itself as a Critical Minerals Supplier

Canada has recently launched multiple initiatives to leverage its natural resources better and capitalize on global diversification efforts away from industry leader China, which dominates the production and refining of many critical minerals. To connect the often remote laying mining projects to the rest of the country and the global market, the Canadian government launched the $1.1 billion Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund in 2023, for example. In addition, the North American country has set up partnerships with countries across the world, for instance, with the European Union.

Fueling the Energy Transition

Energy Minister Wilkinson also addressed the environmental and political sphere of the new initiative in the interview with Reuters. He emphasized that the Canadian government does not intend to cut corners. Wilkinson, however, maintained that “there is no energy transition without significantly enhanced volumes of critical minerals.” A note shared by sector analysts, such as the consultancy EY.

Photo: iStock/jasonbennee

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