Critical minerals sector will have to wait on speedier timelines for development – by Julius Melnitzer (Financial Post – April 12, 2023)

‘Canada is not an easy place to build mining projects, and so far it isn’t becoming an easier place’

Ottawa has made critical minerals development a centrepiece of its economic agenda, but when it comes to the bureaucracy surrounding impact assessment and other permitting processes for major projects, much is still up in the air.

The March 28 federal budget proposed a raft of measures to advance the sector, seen as essential to future green and digital economies. Those included a new, refundable tax credit worth $11 billion allowing for a 30 per cent break in the cost of investments in equipment used for key critical minerals and providing $1 billion to support the Crown’s duty to consult indigenous communities.

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada and other stakeholders lauded these initiatives, but the budget — which acknowledged “it should not take 12 years to open a critical minerals mine” — is also forcing project proponents and developers to wait until at least December to see any concrete steps aimed at improving timelines.

“We have not as yet seen a material change in regulatory approaches to critical mineral project development,” said Roy Millen, an Indigenous rights partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s Vancouver office. “There has been no focus on the streamlining and emphasis on timeliness that needs to occur.”

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