Federal government makes critical minerals push, but no funding commitments – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 11, 2021)


The federal government unveiled a list of minerals it deems critical to Canada’s economy and energy security on Thursday, but stopped short of making any funding commitments to help the private sector get new mining projects off the ground.

The list of 31 minerals includes those needed for the electric-car industry, such as lithium, cobalt and copper; key inputs for Canada’s food security, such as potash used in fertilizers; uranium for the nuclear-power industry; and various raw materials used in metals production, such as chromite, a key stainless-steel input.

Canada’s renewed focus on rare earths comes amid a North America-wide push to bolster supply chains. The United States has been particularly vocal about the need to boost its production of critical minerals, as fears of a Chinese stranglehold on supplies intensify.

China, for example, dominates the rare earth industry, a subset of critical minerals.

The Asian superpower accounts for about 60 per cent of global production of rare earths, which are necessary in a range of industries including defence, medical and alternative energy.

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