Trudeau government does spadework on minerals crucial to future economy – by Jim Bronskill (Canadian Press/Financial Post – December 3, 2019)

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is digging for intelligence on the role Canada’s mining sector could play in providing the United States and other key trading partners with crucial minerals and metals — from cobalt to tellurium — considered building blocks of the new economy.

Natural Resources Canada plans to hire a British firm to provide pricing forecasts and analysis of global supply and demand between 2020 and 2030 for about two dozen vital minerals used in products like solar cells, permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries.

The move comes as Canada works on a joint plan with the United States to ensure reliable access to these minerals and foster future competitiveness of the U.S. and Canadian mining industries.

The effort flows from a commitment last June by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump to develop steady, secure supplies of so-called critical minerals in the face of China’s dominance in much of the field.

Earlier this year, the U.S. commerce secretary issued a report that found America’s heavy reliance on foreign sources of critical minerals created the potential for “strategic vulnerabilities to both our economy and military.”

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