IPP&T Magazine Online

Canada benefitting from rising demand for critical minerals

January 24, 2020   Don Horne




It is a good time to be in the critical minerals sector.

Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), in his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, spoke of the state of Canada’s mining industry and how recent commitments to mining, particularly the new Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration and the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP), show great promise for Canada’s mining sector.

The United States is looking to Canada to be a supplier of critical minerals, essential to new, advanced technologies in major sectors of the North American economy, and the Government of Canada, as expressed in Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent mandate letters to his cabinet, is committed to meet U.S. demands,” said Gratton. “Richly endowed with natural resources and with a globally leading mining sector committed to responsible mineral development, Canada is uniquely positioned to supply the U.S. with critical minerals, representing a significant opportunity for new investment and growth in mining and mineral processing.”

Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals. The new Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan will improve collaboration to ensure the responsible sourcing of the critical minerals that are essential to many different sectors, including clean technology and defence.

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In addition to the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan, the CMMP, a federal-provincial initiative which includes measures that aim to enhance the sector’s competitiveness, stimulate innovation, advance the participation of Indigenous communities and promote Canada’s role as a global leader in the mining sector, also provides a vision that will position the industry for success in the years to come.

“Critical minerals are more than rare earth elements, and include several minerals and metals already mined in Canada, including cobalt, copper, precious metals, nickel and uranium, which are critical to low carbon electrification and new battery technologies in the automotive, space, defence and high-tech sectors,” continued Gratton. “It’s time to be ambitious. We have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new era in investment and middle class job creation, not just in mining but in new, emerging downstream industrial and manufacturing sectors.”

Canada’s mining sector has long been a global leader in responsible mining practices. MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program has emerged as a standard with significant international presence, adopted by mining associations in seven countries on five continents in the past five years. TSM focuses on enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way through mandatory commitments to annually report and assure social and environmental performance with strong multi-stakeholder oversight.

“Looking forward, the opportunity for responsible growth is significant. And the obligation to grow responsibly has never been clearer,” said Gratton. “Canadian metals come conflict free, mined meeting the highest environmental standards and a commitment to transparency unmatched anywhere. We are confident that with these sustainable standards and new government commitments, Canada’s mining industry has the tools and support to provide the responsibly sourced minerals vital to industries around the world.”


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