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:

Stream 1
Preconstruction and project development

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.

Stream 2
Infrastructure deployment

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:

Program details

CMIF funding addresses key infrastructure gaps in the upstream segment (exploration and mining) of critical minerals value chains to:

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.

Timeframe

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

Eligibility

Who can apply

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 deployment activities (stream 2)

Preparation (e.g., site preparation), construction, rehabilitation and improvement of energy or transportation infrastructure assets, including:

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.

Apply now

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:

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).

Contact us

For further guidance, please send an email to cmif-fimc@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

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