Ottawa’s own policies defeat its critical minerals push – by Ian Madsen (Troy Media – March 13, 2023)

Ian Madsen is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently visited the Saskatchewan Research Council’s experimental rare earth refining facility in Saskatoon to tout his government’s efforts to promote rare earth discovery, development, and extraction, along with the refining advances SRC has achieved.

He and his ministers have been ‘talking up’ this critical mineral drive for quite a while, but their efforts have shown little success thus far – for reasons they would rather not discuss.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson admitted that new mine permitting, review, approval and development time nearly always takes at least 10 years and could easily extend to 20 or 25. Furthermore, Ottawa’s proposed changes for more scrutiny of foreign involvement in proposed mines mean more delays and uncertainties, with projects potentially blocked.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues and scoring, designed to discourage investment in conventional energies like oil, gas and coal, also complicate the decision-making processes for industry and government. The so-called sustainability’ green transition’ further involves meeting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) criteria.

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