Canada is sitting on a critical minerals mother lode. But is it ready for the new gold rush? – by Christian Paas-Lang (CBC News Politics – April 8,2023)

Proponents say Canada must do more to turn aspiration into action

Drive two hours north of Ottawa, put on a hard hat and bright orange vest, descend into a pit — and you find yourself on the frontline in the fight to be part of the new, green economy.

A mining project might not be what comes to mind when you think of the transition to a lower emissions economy. But embedded in electric vehicles, solar panels and hydrogen fuel storage are metals and minerals that come from mines like the one in Lac-des-Îles, Que.

The graphite mine, owned by the company Northern Graphite, is just one of many projects aimed at extracting what are now officially dubbed “critical minerals” — substances of significant strategic and economic importance to the future of national economies.

Lac-des-Îles is the only significant graphite mining project in North America, accounting for Canada’s contribution to an industry dominated by China. Experts and industry proponents say Canada has the potential to be a major player in critical minerals — but it needs to change the scope and scale of investment and regulation in order to get there.

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