Backgrounder: Government of Canada to Enhance Critical Minerals Sector With Launch of $1.5 Billion Infrastructure Fund
The Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF) will support the development of strategic infrastructure projects that will enable the acceleration of Canada’s critical minerals production and reinforce associated supply chains.
With up to $1.5 billion available over seven years, the CMIF will:
support clean energy projects that drive environmental performance while enabling critical minerals development, such as the generation, storage and transmission of non-emitting renewable or alternative energy, as well as grid connectivity; and
support transportation projects that will directly enable the development or expansion of critical minerals resources, such as roads, rail and marine transportation.
CMIF funding will be made available through two streams, both supporting mine sites and regional clean energy and transportation infrastructure.
The first stream, Preconstruction and Project Development, will fund pre-construction activities required to advance projects toward a shovel-ready state, for example, planning, studies and engagement with Indigenous groups.
The second stream, Infrastructure Deployment, will fund activities for shovel-ready projects, such as readily deployable solutions, construction, rehabilitation or enhancement of infrastructure.
Funding decisions will consider the feasibility of the proposed project and its potential to support critical minerals production in Canada while advancing broader environmental, economic and Indigenous reconciliation objectives.
The first CMIF Call for Proposals (CFP) will disburse an initial tranche of funding to shovel-ready projects that are deployable, having secured all necessary regulatory approvals and permits, and to pre-construction projects that can be deployed in future years. Eligible recipients will include a broad array of partners, including provinces and territories and organizations under provincial or territorial statute or regulation, such as Crown corporations and public utilities, private businesses, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous groups.
The maximum funding available per project under the first CFP will be $50 million for most applicants. Provincial and territorial governments may apply for up to $100 million for public projects. The CMIF will fund up to 50 percent of total eligible expenditures, except in the case of Arctic, Northern and Indigenous-led projects (up to 75 percent) and public–private partnerships (up to 33 percent). While most contributions will be non-repayable, the contributions that will directly enable profit generation for a non-Indigenous business will be conditionally repayable. When assessing projects, the CMIF will consider both the infrastructure and the mining activities it will support.
To ensure federal funding is used where it is most needed, all applications will be submitted to the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) for assessment of private investment potential and CIB participation. In cases where financing could be made available via the CIB, the CMIF’s potential contribution to a project will be scaled accordingly.
The CMIF will complement and may leverage proposals submitted to other clean energy and transportation infrastructure programs, such as:
The CIB’s Critical Minerals Infrastructure Investments and Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative,
Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund,
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity Program, and
Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables Electrification Pathways and Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities programs.
The CMIF will also offer grant funding to support Indigenous groups and organizations to engage in the development and implementation of CMIF-related infrastructure projects. Further details about CMIF grants will be available shortly.
It is anticipated that the CMIF will launch its first CFP by late fall 2023.
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada
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