Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund
Open call for proposals: Applications for contribution funding will be accepted until February 29, 2024. Submit a full project proposal through the CMIF secure funding portal.
Advancing clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects
The Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF) will provide up to $1.5 billion in federal funding over 7 years for clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects necessary to enable the sustainable development and expansion of critical minerals in Canada.
There will be calls for proposals launched over the course of this 7-year program. The first call for proposals is open now, with up to $300 million in contribution funding available under 2 streams:
Funds preconstruction activities required to advance projects toward a shovel-ready state, including studies; planning; design work; assessments; infrastructure-specific consultation; knowledge sharing; and engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as other impacted communities.
Stream 1 applications will be assessed and ranked after the application window closes.
Projects requesting $10 million or less may be prioritized for funding.
Funds shovel-ready projects, including site preparation, construction, rehabilitation or enhancement of infrastructure, as well as capacity-building activities and engagement in support of Indigenous and other impacted communities.
Stream 2 will use a continuous intake process, meaning that applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Depending on demand, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) may stop issuing funding decisions when funding under this stream has been allocated.
The following contribution funding limits apply to projects in both streams:
- up to $50 million per project for nongovernmental applicants
- up to $100 million per project for provincial and territorial governments
CMIF funding addresses key infrastructure gaps in the upstream segment (exploration and mining) of critical minerals value chains to:
- unlock new critical mineral resources
- support improved environmental performance at mine sites
- facilitate market access for critical minerals
- strengthen supply chains (i.e., by connecting resources to midstream processing and refining, and downstream manufacturing)
CMIF funded projects must be located entirely in Canada.
Types of funding
The CMIF will offer non-repayable contributions, conditionally repayable contributions and grants.
In most circumstances, contributions will be non-repayable. Contributions made to a for-profit, non-Indigenous organization that are intended to allow the organization to generate profit will generally be conditionally repayable.
Grant funding will also be provided, separately from this first call for proposals, to support Indigenous groups and organizations in their efforts to engage in the development and implementation of CMIF-related infrastructure projects. Further details about CMIF grants will be available shortly.
Project costs may be funded up to March 31, 2030.
Single-window approach with the Canada Infrastructure Bank
Applications received under the CMIF will be shared with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) for an assessment of potential for CIB investment. In cases where financing would be offered by the CIB, the potential CMIF contribution to a project will be scaled accordingly.
Expected project outcomes
CMIF is looking for projects that help Canada produce critical minerals through the development of enabling transportation and clean energy infrastructure, and need a financial contribution to continue or accelerate their development.
Funded projects should support the primary objectives of the CMIF:
Address gaps in clean energy and transportation infrastructure that limit the production and expansion of critical mineral resources in Canada
Drive emissions reductions in operations that produce critical minerals by increasing access to and integration of renewable and non-emitting energy sources (e.g., solar, wind and geothermal power), or existing electrical grids
Advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples by supporting Indigenous consultation and participation, as well as benefits from infrastructure projects that enable critical minerals development
Who can apply
- Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies and industry associations
- Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and related organizations, including:
- provincial Crown corporations
- public utilities
- ports established under a provincial or territorial statute or regulation
- Indigenous groups, including:
- Indigenous communities or governments
- tribal councils or entities that fulfill a similar function (e.g., general council)
- national and regional Indigenous councils and tribal organizations
- Indigenous (majority-owned and -controlled by Indigenous Peoples) for-profit and not-for-profit organizations
The term “Indigenous” is understood to include Inuit, Métis, First Nation, Status Indian and Non-Status Indian individuals, or any combination thereof.
What projects are eligible
Within each stream, there are 2 types of eligible projects:
1. Clean energy infrastructure
These are projects that drive environmental performance while supporting critical minerals development. These may range from mine-site infrastructure (e.g., grid connection, demonstration and deployment of renewable or alternative energy technologies, battery storage projects and electric vehicle charging stations for mining equipment) to broader projects with a regional impact on the development or expansion of critical mineral resource production. This includes energy projects that flow benefits to mining activities and local communities (e.g., via renewable and alternative energy generation, battery storage and transmission).
2. Transportation infrastructure
These are projects that directly enable the development or expansion of critical mineral resources such as roads, rail or marine transportation infrastructure that connect mines to value chains, including processing facilities and transportation systems that provide access to global markets.
What activities are eligible
Contributions will be provided to fund activities that are needed to carry out an eligible clean energy or transportation infrastructure project, in line with program objectives, including:
Preconstruction and project development activities (stream 1)
- Infrastructure-specific consultation, knowledge sharing, capacity building, job training, and engagement with local and Indigenous communities and organizations
- Infrastructure-specific prefeasibility and feasibility studies; engineering; planning and design work, including appropriately scoped technology demonstration, testing and piloting activities; energy and resource modelling; environmental reviews; and assessments
- Inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) plans that support participation in the critical minerals sector
Infrastructure deployment activities (stream 2)
Preparation (e.g., site preparation), construction, rehabilitation and improvement of energy or transportation infrastructure assets, including:
- creation or enhancement of fixed transportation infrastructure (e.g., road, bridge, rail and marine infrastructure) that enables the development or expansion of critical mineral resource production and/or connects resources to critical minerals value chains
- clean energy production, distribution and/or storage infrastructure projects that supply non-emitting energy (e.g., hydro, solar, wind, nuclear and geothermal energy)
- construction or retrofit of energy infrastructure (e.g., transmission and distribution lines, and associated infrastructure) that provides a connection to an electrical grid
- retrofits of existing clean energy projects, including hardware and software, to enable them to provide grid services
- engagement and related activities (e.g., capacity building, job training and IDEA plans) with impacted communities during project deployment
What expenses are eligible
Eligible expenditures are limited to the reasonable costs that are required to achieve an eligible project’s objectives. The CMIF is designed to cover a broad range of expenses, in line with best practices for federal contributions programs. Examples of eligible expenses include costs related to site preparation and construction; most professional services, including research and engineering; salaries and benefits; training; administrative costs and others. Some expenditures such as land acquisition, litigation fees, and general operating and maintenance expenses are not eligible for reimbursement.
CMIF funds up to 50% of total eligible expenses, except in the case of Arctic, Northern and Indigenous-led projects (up to 75%) and public-private partnerships (up to 33%).
For more information about eligible and ineligible expenditures, please consult the CMIF applicant guide.
How to apply
Applicants will submit a full project proposal, including all relevant documentation, through the CMIF secure funding portal.
For this first call for proposals, applications will be accepted until February 29, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. PST.
Stream 1 applications will be assessed and ranked after the application window closes.
Stream 2 will use a continuous intake process, meaning that applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on demand, NRCan may stop issuing funding decisions when funding under this stream has been allocated.
Only complete applications will be reviewed by the program and applications must meet all evaluation criteria to be considered for funding. For more information on the application process, consult the CMIF applicant guide and our information session recording.
Selection process and timelines
After applying, you will receive a notification of whether your application meets basic completeness and eligibility criteria. In the context of the first call for proposals, for stream 1, this notification will come after the application window closes. For stream 2, which will have a continuous intake approach, it will come shortly after your application is submitted. Applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be retained for a full assessment.
CMIF funding decisions will be made through project assessments that will determine the merit of the project and strength of the application. CMIF project assessments will involve an interdepartmental process engaging expertise from relevant federal departments to make recommendations on applications.
Application assessments will include:
- an assessment of an eligible project’s expected support for critical minerals production in Canada
- a due diligence assessment evaluating the application quality, project feasibility and project risks
- an assessment of the project’s expected economic, environmental and Indigenous reconciliation benefits and impacts
Once a full assessment is completed, successful projects will receive a conditional funding decision which, if positive, will begin the process to negotiate a contribution agreement (winter/spring 2024).
For further guidance, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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