Critical Minerals – April News Roundup

Honda to Build Canada’s First Comprehensive Electric Vehicle Supply Chain, Creating Thousands of New Jobs in Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, today welcomed Honda Canada’s milestone investment of approximately $15 billion to create Canada’s first comprehensive electric vehicle supply chain, located in Ontario.

This large-scale project will see four new manufacturing plants in Ontario. Honda will build an innovative and world-class electric vehicle assembly plant – the first of its kind for Honda Motor Co. Ltd. – as well as a new stand-alone battery manufacturing plant at Honda’s facilities in Alliston, Ontario. To complete the supply chain, Honda will also build a cathode active material and precursor (CAM/pCAM) processing plant through a joint venture partnership with POSCO Future M Co., Ltd. and a separator plant through a joint venture partnership with Asahi Kasei Corporation. Once fully operational in 2028, the new assembly plant will produce up to 240,000 vehicles per year.

Honda’s investments in an electric vehicle assembly plant and a battery manufacturing plant in Alliston will create over one thousand well-paying manufacturing jobs in Ontario, with the CAM/pCAM processing plant and separator plant helping to create thousands of additional direct and indirect jobs in Ontario and across Canada, including during the construction phase and across Ontario’s leading auto parts supplier and research and development ecosystems.

This investment is a strong vote of confidence in Canada and Ontario’s highly skilled workers, strong economies, and competitive business environments.

The complete News Release can be accessed below.

Ontario Investing in the Critical Minerals Supply Chain

The Ontario government is investing over $4 million to help junior mining companies find the mines that will fuel the electric vehicle revolution. Funding through the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) is part of the province’s Critical Minerals Strategy to drive long-term economic growth by creating jobs and prosperity, especially in northern and Indigenous communities.

“I am thrilled to be in Thunder Bay at the Ontario Prospectors Exploration Showcase to announce the successful OJEP recipients because it means the drills are turning and we are searching for new mines,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “Our government recognizes that Thunder Bay is quickly becoming a hub for lithium, which is essential for the growing supply chain for electric vehicles in Ontario. The projects we are celebrating today are creating jobs in the region and in other mining towns across the north.”

In 2023, Ontario was the top destination for mineral exploration investment in Canada totalling $952 million. This is the second year in a row that Ontario has led the country in mineral exploration investment. The Ontario Junior Exploration Program continues to encourage private sector

investment throughout the province that will secure the minerals needed for new technologies including electric vehicles.

Projects receiving OJEP funding under the fourth intake include:

  • $200,000 to New Break Resources Ltd. to conduct surveys and drilling, targeting gold and base metals mineralization.
  • $200,000 to Tyko Resources Inc. to conduct surveys and drilling targeting nickel, copper and platinum-group elements.
  • $198,047 to Copper Lake Resources Ltd. to complete surveys and drilling targeting copper and zinc.
  • $107,823 to Fladgate Exploration Consulting Corp. to conduct surveys targeting nickel, copper and cobalt.
  • $81,554 to Solstice Gold Corp. to conduct surveys targeting lithium.

 

Launched in 2021, OJEP helps junior mining companies cover eligible costs for critical and precious mineral exploration and development. Through its fourth intake, OJEP has committed $4.4 million to fund 35 projects – 24 of them exploring for critical minerals – leveraging approximately $10 million in additional investment from industry.

The complete News Release can be accessed

Saskatchewan to Pursue Agreement on Aerial Geophysical Survey

The Government of Saskatchewan invested $500,000 for an airborne survey in southwest Saskatchewan in partnership with Natural Resources Canada. The survey will collect data about the area’s geology and natural resources.

Airborne geophysical surveys are an effective way of providing insight into the province’s mineral potential over relatively large areas. Similar surveys have been conducted over regions of northern Saskatchewan in recent years. These surveys have resulted in the staking of new mineral dispositions, particularly in areas with potential for copper, zinc and gold and have provided valuable technical data to support exploration companies working in these areas.

The Swift Current area has been identified for the work due to the lack of modern geophysical survey data available. Potential lithium-in-brine, helium and petroleum resources may exist in the area, which could spur exploration and development.

The complete News Release can be accessed below.

Saskatchewan Signs New Partnership with France

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison and France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness, Francophonie and French Nationals Abroad Franck Riester signed a new Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore, develop and cooperate on new projects related to strategic mineral resources.

The LOI will focus on the regions’ shared goals of improving supply chain security and sustainability, and research and development for critical minerals. It also includes intentions to share knowledge and develop projects related to critical mineral innovations.

Saskatchewan is home to 23 critical minerals, including uranium, potash, rare earth elements, helium, lithium, copper and more. As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400 to 600 per cent over the next several decades. Saskatchewan is well-positioned to be the stable supplier the world needs. Establishing new partnerships in these industries is in line with Securing the Future, Saskatchewan’s Critical Minerals Strategy, and Securing the Next Decade of Growth, Saskatchewan’s Investment Attraction Strategy.

The complete News Release can be accessed below.

Saskatchewan Research Council Expects to Produce 400 Tonnes of Rare Earth Metals Per Year Beginning in 2025

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) signed a five-year agreement in principle with Hung Thinh Group (HTG) from Vietnam to import rare earth carbonate to SRC’s Rare Earth Processing Facility to produce rare earth metals. Under the agreement, HTG will supply SRC with up to 3,000 tonnes of rare earth carbonate per year for five years beginning in June 2025.

This SRC project is North America’s first, fully integrated commercial demonstration Rare Earth Processing Facility. SRC has developed proprietary, state-of-the-art technology and know-how in rare earth mineral processing, solvent extraction and metal smelting.

Since 2020, the Saskatchewan Government has invested $71 million into the facility which is expected to act as a catalyst to stimulate the resource sector in Saskatchewan and across Canada by providing the mid-stream supply chain needed to generate industry investment and growth.

The complete News Release can be accessed below.

Canada Nickel Company Concludes Successful Participation in Washington, D.C. Summit on North American Critical Minerals Strategy

Canada Nickel Company Inc. (“Canada Nickel”; TSXV: CNC; OTCQX: CNIKF) was proud to participate in an Ontario government delegation at the 2024 Energy Transition Metals Summit in Washington, D.C.

During the summit, CEO Mark Selby, a veteran in the mining industry with over 20 years of experience, stressed the importance of strengthened Ontario-US trade partnerships and collaboration in critical minerals as demand for clean energy solutions across North America surges. Canada Nickel Company’s CEO further spoke about the essential role of nickel in various

high-tech applications, including electric vehicles (EVs) and stainless steel production, critical for the transition to a cleaner economy.

Canada Nickel’s Crawford Nickel Sulphide Project in Ontario’s Timmins Nickel District was showcased at the summit as a model of innovation and sustainability. Projected to become one of the top nickel sulphide operations globally, it boasts potential for zero-carbon production thanks to the Company’s proprietary IPT Carbonation carbon storage technology. The Summit also served as a platform for Canada Nickel to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the nickel market, which is essential for powering the EV revolution. The discussions included the impact of recent US policies on metal imports and the strategic steps both nations and the province need to take to secure a reliable supply of critical minerals.

Canada Nickel’s participation in the summit underscores its role as a leader in the next generation of large-scale nickel supply and as a key player in North America’s critical minerals strategies. The company continues to work closely with the Ontario Government, Canadian, and US officials to advance bilateral initiatives that enhance the critical minerals supply chain and promote sustainable mining practices.

The complete Press Release can be accessed below.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Releases Report on Critical Minerals International Investment Attraction

The new report, Investment Incentives for Critical Minerals in Canada, identifies gaps in Canada’s current policy suite meant to attract investment for critical minerals, and provides recommendations to the federal government on how Canada can better compete for international investments in this important and rapidly growing sector.

Looking at mechanisms from other jurisdictions is useful as they can offer additional approaches that Canada might take to support critical minerals. As such, this report also compares investment incentives across four jurisdictions that each have their own list of critical minerals and overarching strategies: Canada, the United States, the European Union and Australia.

Investment Incentives

Governments encourage international investment in several ways:

  • Fiscal incentives include tax holidays, reduced tax rates and tax deductions or credits on equipment.
  • Financial incentives include various grants and loans on new construction or mechanisms like subsidized government insurance.
  • Other incentives include subsidized public infrastructure, market preferences and regulatory concessions.
    • Subsidized infrastructure: the public provision of roads, utilities and other services that help reduce costs to the investor.
    • Market preferences: preferential treatment in government procurement or other forms of preferential market access.
    • Regulatory concessions: exemptions or reductions in regulatory requirements such as environmental or labour regulations.

 

Recommendations

The report offers 13 recommendations categorized under three themes that build on the recommendations previously made by the Canadian Chamber in 2022.

Making Decisions

  1. Create our own critical minerals goals. Plans described in the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy urgently need goals, timelines and accountability structures. Details and commitments will bolster the confidence of international investors in Canada.
  2. Obtain faster and consistent approvals for mining. There is a broad consensus that current timelines of 10–15 years need and can be shortened without losing requirements for good planning, environmental protection and Indigenous consent.
  3. Build a critical minerals digital information hub for Canada. Ease of access to high quality and current information will improve the timelines for planning and permitting processes, helping stakeholders in their own assessments and investment decisions.
  4. Embed Indigenous reconciliation in critical minerals development. Areas for action include building Indigenous leadership capacity in the industry and updating economic and legal frameworks in Canada’s mineral resource sector.

 

Leveraging Opportunity

  1. Modernize our workforce for critical minerals. Our critical minerals strategy identifies the need for a new diverse and inclusive workforce, but more details are required to define and address labour challenges.
  2. Support small minerals companies. Most critical minerals discovery and early-stage validation is done by junior mining companies, but junior firms are often ill-equipped for the social and environmental assessments needed for project planning and acceptance. The government can provide financial and service support.
  3. Fill the midstream gap for critical minerals production. Canada can fill the midstream production gap with targeted investment stimulus.
  4. Recognize equipment manufacturers and minerals service providers. Critical minerals development requires equipment, reagents and services for exploration, mining, metallurgy and processing.


Thinking Ahead

  1. Fixing the existing value chain misalignment. The upstream, midstream, downstream and recycling stages of critical minerals each operate on a different schedule. The coordination and connection between stages is a role for international and domestic governments to fill.
  2. Strengthen Canada’s financial institutions for critical minerals. Canadian banks are major lenders to minerals projects worldwide. The Canadian government can strengthen these institutions to advance critical minerals development and attract international financing.
  3. Add demand-side incentives. Canada’s strategy currently gives scant attention to demand-side measures like direct government purchasing, mineral stockpiling, price guarantees or de-risking company offtake contracts.
  4. Lead on international ESG standards. Sustainability standards programs provide an external reference of acceptability for investors, support the brand value of end products, and help authorities make approval decisions confidently and more rapidly.
  5. Coordinate investment criteria with Canadian allies. Aligning incentives with like-minded nations can facilitate and encourage responsible investment. Allie nations are reaching outside their borders for new critical minerals, and Canada can follow suit.

 

The urgency for Canada to act on its natural advantages in critical minerals is driven by our own environmental sustainability expectations, but also by the need to compete with jurisdictions that are more advanced than us in their incentive programs. It’s important to the future of the industry and our economic prosperity that Canada develops expeditious and competitive mechanisms to secure investment for all stages of the minerals development value chain.

The complete Report can be accessed below.

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