VIEWPOINT: Capitalizing on Canada’s critical minerals is an economic and geopolitical win-win – by Andrew Evans (The Hub – June 12, 2023)


Developing Ontario’s critical minerals will help Canada and the Western world counter China

Andrew Forrest, the owner of the Wyloo Metals, a main company in Ontario’s Ring of Fire,1 recently raised issues with Canada’s regulatory overburden and called into question the viability of the entire project. The Ring of Fire is one of Ontario’s most significant economic opportunities, but the debate has been missing a critical aspect of why it matters: the role of global geopolitics.

Much like the oil industry, the critical minerals industry is geographically concentrated and lends itself to natural economic bottlenecks. China controls significant majorities and pluralities in every step of the value chain.

Take as an example, cobalt. Cobalt, a mineral vital to battery production, is primarily located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is primarily mined in Chinese-owned mines. Through those mines, China controls 41 percent of global cobalt reserves.

Building on this, China also has de-facto monopolies on the refining of extracted cobalt, followed by the production of battery materials, final battery assembly, and the majority of current global electric vehicle production.

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