Canada needs to move quickly on production of critical minerals, IEA says – by Marieke Walsh and Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – February 2d, 2023)

Canada needs to quickly ramp up production of critical minerals and play a global leadership role to defend against energy security crises triggered by countries that use fossil fuels as a weapon, said the head of the International Energy Agency.

During a government-organized panel discussion in Ottawa Wednesday, Fatih Birol warned that the energy shortages currently gripping Europe could be repeated as the world transitions to cleaner fuels, if Western countries do not increase the availability of rare earth minerals and develop friendlier sources of them.

The minerals are central to net-zero energy sources that Mr. Birol said need to replace conventional, fossil-fuel emitting energy. Just as oil and gas is being used by Russia as a weapon, he said the same could happen to the supply of critical minerals.

“As a world, we should learn from this bitter experience,” Mr. Birol said, sitting beside federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. But so far the same concentration of supply of oil and gas is happening with critical minerals, said Mr. Birol, with only a small number of countries bringing the minerals to market.

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