#7. Build Canada’s critical mineral processing sector to maximize domestic economic benefits

Canada has identified a list of critical minerals12 considered vital to the nation’s low-carbon economic growth plan. Under its Minerals and Metals Plan, Canada is positioning itself as a leading mining nation, recognizing these materials as key to the economic security of Canada and its allies. In the context of auto sector development, access to these minerals presents significant industrial benefits. It is imperative that Canada maximize the value of such assets to meet its economic, job-growth and sustainability objectives. Budget 2022, and the earmarking of $3.8 billion in funds to accelerate production and processing of critical minerals, takes an important first step.13 Government officials may consider domestic processing opportunities and arrangements prior to awarding permits for mineral exploration and mining development. This process can involve mining firms demonstrating efforts to seek offtake agreements or other supplier arrangements with Canadian-based processors and refineries. Governments may also consider purchasing and stockpiling critical minerals and redirecting those materials to processors with incentives to set up shop in Canada. To achieve these goals, Canada must undertake strong oversight to guard against foreign ownership and control of critical minerals and processing capacity, including through the Investment Canada Act.

Li-ion Battery Raw Material Supply Rankings (2021)

World map showing a ranking of countries by lithium ion battery raw material supplies with China, 1, Australia, 2, Brazil, 3, South Africa, 4, Canada, 5 (tie), Indonesia, 5 (tie), Chile, 7, Democratic Republic of Congo, 8, Finland, 9 (tie), Philippines, 9 (tie), USA, 11 (tie), Turkey, 11 (tie), Japan, 13, Mexico, 14, Argentina, 15 (tie), India, 15 (tie), Bolivia, 15 (tie), South Korea, 18, Czech Republic, 19 (tie), Norway, 19 (tie), Morocco, 19 (tie).

* represents countries that are tied.
Source: BloombergNEF (accessed June 14, 2022): https://about.bnef.com/blog/u-s-narrows-gap-with-china-in-race-to-dominate-battery-value-chain/

12 Natural Resources Canada, Critical Minerals list, available at: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/our-natural-resources/minerals-mining/critical-minerals/23414

13 Budget 2022 (p.65): https://budget.gc.ca/2022/pdf/budget-2022-en.pdf