Critical Minerals – News and Updates

On a monthly basis, the Capital Hill Group will now be sharing a dedicated critical minerals news report. This informative report will provide an overview of the top news stories and updates pertaining to the critical minerals sector from the past month.

First Regional Energy and Resource Table Collaboration Framework Released

The Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and the First Nations Leadership Council have collaborated to advance the first ever Canada-British Columbia Regional Energy and Resource Tables to accelerate a low-carbon economy. For more details on the Framework, please click on our blog here.

Canada and Czech Republic Discuss Clean Economy Collaboration

This month, Minister Wilkinson (Natural Resources) met with Jozef Sikela (Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic) to discuss strengthening their bilateral collaboration and cooperation in clean economy initiatives. The meeting affirmed their shared interest in: 

  • Hydrogen Energy: A mutual understanding of the key role of hydrogen in future energy needs was emphasized, especially with respect to hydrogen produced from renewable resources; 
  • Import and Export of Hydrogen: Canada’s industry’s plans to export hydrogen and the Czech Republic ́s intention to import hydrogen to satisfy its energy needs with low-carbon sources were discussed; 
  • Critical Minerals Supply Chain: The critical minerals industry and clean technologies to make mining more sustainable were engaged upon; and, 
  • Nuclear Energy: As a safe, reliable, non-emitting energy source and cooperation on nuclear technologies.  

Canada deepening its collaboration with global leader Rio Tinto to produce the world’s greenest aluminum

On June 12th, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, made an announcement regarding the partnership agreement signed with Rio Tinto. The objective of this agreement is to implement an ambitious agenda that will reinforce Rio Tinto’s leadership in the production of green aluminum. As part of this initiative, the construction of the first aluminum smelter in Western Canada in ten years is planned. Additionally, Rio Tinto aims to deploy its ELYSIS smelting technology on an industrial scale throughout its Canadian operations in the aluminum sector.

Rio Tinto will also invest $1.4 billion to expand its advanced aluminum smelter located at Complexe Jonquière in Saguenay. During the peak construction phase, the project is expected to create up to 1,000 job opportunities, with approximately 100 permanent positions once the new smelter is operational.

Furthermore, this collaboration supports the objectives outlined in the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy. It aims to explore possibilities for value-added mineral processing and materials manufacturing for Canadian technologies and industries and by extracting critical minerals from waste streams.

Canadian tech organizations form semiconductor working group

The Semiconductor Industry Leadership and Innovation Canada Action Network, aims to champion the semiconductor industry with both federal and provincial governments. Its primary goal is to develop a domestic action plan that establishes Canada as a leader in the global sector.

Notable members of the group include the Council of Canadian Innovators, CMC Microsystems, the Alliance for Semiconductor Innovation, Canada’s Semiconductor Council, and the Canadian Innovation Network.

Minister Wilkinson’s Statement Regarding the Canada Energy Regulator’s First Long-Term Outlook Modelling Net-Zero by 2050 in Canada

Based on the report, Minister Wilkinson stated that;
“Just as the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 report, it underlines the fact that global demand for oil, for example, will begin to decline within the next number of years as zero-emissions transportation technologies are deployed in greater number. This will drive a focus on diversification efforts relating to hydrogen, critical minerals and biofuels, among others, and will put additional emphasis on the drive to decarbonize Canada’s oil and gas production to enable our conventional energy sectors to provide lower-carbon products to a market that will increasingly value life-cycle carbon emissions.”

Australia and Canada ‘coopertition’ to be highlighted at IMARC

At the International Mining and Resource Conference (IMARC) from October 31 to November 2, 2023, Canada and Australia’s potential cooperation on critical minerals development is expected to be highlighted. 

We can also see the potential expansion of Australian mining companies to Canada, as the Principal and Founder of BRIDGE©, Siri C. Genik, states that “Australian companies – from mine operators to exploration and METS companies – are looking to Canada as a key source of the critical minerals needed for a renewable future such as copper, nickel, lithium and graphite.”

Premier, ministers create new opportunities for British Columbians on Asia trade mission

The BC government has been busy on a trade mission in June meeting with representatives from Japan, The Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore, and Vietnam. The trade mission aimed to promote the province’s strengths in green energy, technology, natural resources and critical minerals, information and communications technology, and agrifood.

The mission is grounded in B.C.’s Trade Diversification Strategy, launched on May 5, 2023. A commitment to the StrongerBC Economic Plan, the strategy seeks to increase trade and investment opportunities in existing and new markets.

B.C., Japan renew energy, minerals partnership

One of the achievements of the trade mission was the MOU signed between BC and Japan. The MOU will strengthen collaboration between Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) and the Province in the deployment and use of hydrogen, the export of energy and minerals, and carbon dioxide capture utilization and storage technologies.

B.C., South Korea will collaborate on critical minerals opportunities

BC also made strides with South Korea, as the Province and the Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation (KOMIR) agreed to develop critical minerals through a signed three-year term statement of cooperation. The partnership will develop sustainable critical mineral extraction, processing, and recycling, and prioritizes strengthening the supply chain, technical capacity, sustainable and safe practices, and information sharing. Both parties will hold yearly progress meetings, in which they will also discuss the development of Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy.

Canada’s Arctic – Defend It Or Lose It

And now turning to the Arctic, in their op-ed for National Newswatch, Laurie Hawn and Phil D’Eon write about the threat China and Russia pose for the region and the possibility of Russia’s exploitation of strategic minerals, natural gas, and oil. The authors call for Canada’s responsibility in the Arctic and for diplomacy to take primacy as Russia could consider NATO and Arctic Council actions as a threat.

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