$67 Billion of Rare Minerals Is Buried Under One of the World’s Biggest Carbon Sinks – by Vipal Monga (Wall Street Journal – September 28, 2023)


A fight is brewing in Canada about how, or whether, to dig out materials essential for EV batteries that lie deep beneath vast peat bogs

The pace of the global transition to electric power depends on the future of a remote region in Canada known as the Ring of Fire.

Located underneath a distant, swampy expanse of spruce forests and meandering rivers in Northern Ontario that is cut off from major roads, the Ring of Fire is seen by industry and government officials as one of the world’s most important untapped sources of nickel, copper and cobalt—metals essential for making the batteries that power electric vehicles.

But the precious commodities are buried under a vast ecosystem of peat bogs, known by local groups as “the breathing lands,” that hold more carbon per square foot than even the Amazon rainforest. Digging them up could trigger the release of more greenhouse gas than Canada emits in one year, turning one of the earth’s biggest carbon sinks into a major source of emissions, say climate advocates.

A debate over how, or whether, to tap in to this mother lode, located more than 700 miles Northwest of Toronto, has touched off a fight between mining companies, climate advocates, and indigenous groups as demand for cleaner energy and electric vehicles has surged worldwide. “If I have to hop on a bulldozer myself, we’re going to start building roads to the Ring of Fire,” said Doug Ford, the leader of the province of Ontario, which recently signed deals with automakers Volkswagen and Stellantis to build battery-making factories in the province.

For the rest of this article: https://www.wsj.com/world/americas/minerals-nickel-batteries-canada-climate-carbon-376f11fd