Mining sector needs to get in on the hunt for strategic minerals – by Ken Coates (Sudbury Star – April 7, 2021)

Ken Coates is a Munk senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Canadian access to these strategic minerals is crucial if we are to ensure the long-term viability of our technology sector

The Canadian mining sector has been a vital cog in the country’s economy during the pandemic, with the importance of the industry growing steadily over time.

Operations and exploration continued during the COVID-19 outbreak, collaborations with Indigenous communities expanded, technological sophistication accelerated, and, at a time when environmental assessment processes deter investment in Canada, international companies find this country a solid business environment.

With the rapid expansion of the global innovation economy, and given the foundational importance of selected elements, the availability of strategic minerals has become a critical element in the development of the 21st-century economy.

While Canada has a well-deserved reputation for producing industrial-scale minerals, like iron ore, copper, nickel, lead, and the like, and numerous precious minerals, including gold and diamonds, it does not yet have a strong presence in the strategic mineral sector.

These commodities, which include such minerals as lithium and a group of hard-to-find rare earth minerals, play a critical role in the development of 21st century commercial and industrial products, including many in the high-technology sector.

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