As automakers unveil electric vehicle after electric vehicle, and innovation surges around solar panels and other renewable energies, an industry with a long history in Newfoundland and Labrador hopes to position itself to supply more of the materials needed for the green transition.
“It’s a very opportune time for the province. Mining is essential for a low-carbon future,” said Ed Moriarity, the executive director of Mining Industry NL, the province’s industry association.
Not every ore is created equal in the eyes of innovators, as demand focuses on extracting what are sometimes termed “critical minerals,” sometimes labelled “strategic” ones.
Exactly which minerals those are are subject to debate, with an ever-changing list of up to 30, but a few make the cut just about every time — including some well-known to Newfoundland and Labrador: nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements.
For nickel and cobalt, both mined at Voisey’s Bay in Labrador, demand is expected to rise by 2050 by more than 1,000 per cent, said Moriarity.
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