Minister Wilkinson Announces Over $344 Million for Canadian Critical Minerals Development
March 7, 2023 Toronto, Ontario Natural Resources Canada
Critical minerals are more than the building blocks of clean technology like solar panels and electric vehicle batteries — they are also a key ingredient for creating good, middle-class jobs and growing a strong, globally competitive Canadian economy. Accelerating activity in the critical minerals space is essential to meeting global clean energy needs and to building a prosperous economy that will thrive in our net-zero future.
Simply put, our future depends on critical minerals. The Government of Canada is committed to investing in this future, which is why the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy — launched by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, in December 2022 — is backed by up to $3.8 billion in federal funding. Today, Minister Wilkinson announced more details on the implementation of this Strategy. Over $344 million in funding is supporting the following five new programs and initiatives:
Critical Minerals Technology and Innovation Program – $144.4 million for the research, development, demonstration, commercialization and adoption of new technologies and processes that support sustainable growth in Canadian critical minerals value chains and associated innovation ecosystems.
Critical Minerals Geoscience and Data Initiative – $79.2 million to enhance the quality and availability of data and digital technologies to support geoscience and mapping that will accelerate the efficient and effective development of Canadian critical minerals value chains, including by identifying critical minerals reserves and developing pathways for sustainable mineral development.
Global Partnerships Program – $70 million to strengthen Canada’s global leadership role in enhancing critical minerals supply chain resiliency through international collaborations related to critical minerals.
Northern Regulatory Initiative – $40 million to advance Canada’s northern and territorial critical minerals agenda by supporting regulatory dialogue, regional studies, land-use planning, impact assessments and Indigenous consultation.
Renewal of the Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence (CMCE) – $10.6 million so the CMCE can continue the ongoing development and implementation of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy.
Further program details, including a call for proposals, will be announced in the coming months. The programs and initiatives announced today build on previous investments that support critical minerals research and development. Investments under the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy will support a range of industrial activities, from geoscience and exploration to mineral processing, manufacturing and recycling applications, including support for research, development and technological deployment.
To help seize the generational economic opportunity presented by critical minerals, Minister Wilkinson also announced the approval of six projects under the Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration (CMRDD) program while at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2023 Convention. The CMRDD program aims to advance the commercial readiness of emerging processing technologies that will support the development of value chains for zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in Canada.
These six projects represent a total investment of over $14 million and aim to validate the feasibility, viability and replicability of processing technologies by conducting pilot demonstrations. The outcomes will see improved capital and/or operating costs of critical mineral production, the production of critical minerals using novel processes and reduced energy or carbon intensity or other environmental performance improvements.
The funding through the CMRDD program includes:
$795,524 for Sherritt International
$3,545,000 for E3 Lithium
$724,871 for FPX Nickel Corporation
$5,000,000 for Search Minerals
$3,000,000 for Geomega Resources
$1,074,000 for Prairie Lithium
Today’s announcement is one of a series of significant steps the Government of Canada continues to take to support innovation in the mining sector, the creation of jobs and the environment. This $14 million investment represents the first wave of the close to $200 million in innovation funding that the Government of Canada has committed toward research, development and demonstration. Canada will continue to work with partners to establish our country as the global supplier of choice for clean energy in a net-zero world — ensuring a prosperous and clean future for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
“Canadian innovators are leading the way toward a cleaner future. Today’s investment of $344 million will help to advance the development of a dynamic and competitive critical minerals sector. This means good jobs for workers, more investment in Canadian innovation and lower emissions across the country — all part of our plan to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy that works for everyone.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources
“Canada will remain at the forefront of the economy of tomorrow by continuing to develop our critical minerals and metals. We will leverage our competitive advantages in clean energy, talent, sustainable mining, and innovation so that Canada remains a green supplier of choice. As part of this effort, the National Research Council of Canada, in close collaboration with world-class Canadian companies, will drive innovation in the critical minerals ecosystem to continue building resilient supply chains while creating good jobs for Canadians.”
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our government supports a strong natural resource sector in the North and Arctic that creates economic opportunity and good jobs for Northerners, protects the environment and respects Indigenous rights. The northern economy and its workers will benefit from our investments, and Indigenous businesses and northern communities will be a key part in achieving that success.”
The Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor
The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy is part of Canada’s strengthened climate plan, 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy, which advances Canada’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
This work will build on recent success in the Canadian critical minerals space, including major investments in the Canadian electric vehicle (EV) industry.
The Critical Minerals Technology and Innovation Program is being co-delivered by Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council of Canada.
The Government of Canada has invested significantly in the critical minerals value chain throughout the past number of years, including but not limited to:
The Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration (CMRDD) program funds pilot plants and demonstration projects, which focus on moving technologies along the technology readiness level (TRL) scale between TRL 6 and 8.
At these TRL levels, the program will help advance the development of products, processes and technologies to the pre-commercialization phase, which is a critical gap in technology development for the overall innovation ecosystem of critical minerals mining.
- Backgrounder: Projects funded under the Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration (CMRDD) program
- The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy
- Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence
- Canada’s List of Critical Minerals
- Canada Announces Critical Minerals List
- Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan
- National Research Council of Canada’s Energy, Mining and Environment Research Centre
- E3 Lithium
- FPX Nickel Corp
- Search Minerals
- Geomega Resources
- Prairie Lithium
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
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