The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has welcomed several expanded and refined measures proposed in the 2021 federal Budget to support the establishment and growth of a domestic battery supply chain, but CEO Pierre Gratton said specific support targeting rare earth elements (REEs) was too modest and was insufficient to displace reliance on China.
Designed to support a domestic battery electric vehicle (BEV) supply chain, the Budget that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented on Monday proposed the expansion of the Strategic Innovation Fund – Net Zero Accelerator to C$8-billion, and introduced tax incentives.
“We need battery grade nickel, cobalt, lithium and graphite and we are pleased to see programmes and tax measures that we believe can support filling or expanding domestic production of these materials,” said Gratton.
Specific supports targeting REEs, including the establishment of a Critical Minerals Centre of Excellence that will focus on coordinating federal policy and programmes on critical minerals and C$36.8-million over three years for federal research and development to advance critical battery mineral processing and refining expertise, were positive, but modest.
REEs, a subset of critical minerals, are used in a wide range of essential technologies including in healthcare, defence, clean energy and telecommunications.