There is still a role for Western Canada to supply Asia with liquefied natural gas (LNG) and longer-term opportunities for Canadian producers to supply Europe with hydrogen. But it’s critical minerals where Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson thinks Canada’s biggest opportunities lie in a world transitioning to cleaner energy sources.
“This really, if we get this right, is kind of a generational economic opportunity for this country,” Wilkinson said. “Not just extracting minerals, but processing and refining them here. Building the batteries, building the electric vehicles and other products. This is an opportunity for Canada to really have a very strong core of its industrial base underpinned by the work we’re doing in critical minerals.”
Wilkinson spoke to BIV about energy and mining Friday, following his address earlier this week at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference. “The tone of PDAC this year was, I think, very optimistic,” he said. “People really see the opportunities that are before us, particularly in the area of critical minerals, but in mining more generally.”
With its abundance of energy, and a nascent LNG industry, Canada has been seen as a potential supplier to Europe, which has lost most of its Russian natural gas supplies. But in recent visits to Canada, European leaders have been sent home largely empty handed. Despite attempts to develop LNG export terminals in Eastern Canada, none are being built there, unlike the West Coast, where at least one large LNG terminal is being built.
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