An Overview of the Nova Scotia Critical Minerals Strategy

The Strategy was introduced to industry on March 5th, at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference.

Overview

In recognition that Nova Scotia has a vital role to play in Canada’s critical minerals value chain, the Government of Nova Scotia has released a dedicated provincial Critical Minerals Strategy that includes contributions through mining, refining, manufacturing, and recycling. Intended to be complimentary and applied in conjunction to the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy and existing federal and provincial policy and legislation, the Nova Scotia Critical Minerals Strategy highlights are as follows:

Objective

The objective of the Strategy is to provide a framework to help guide the Province of Nova Scotia to complete the following:

  • Provide a stable supply of critical minerals that are required for Nova Scotia and Canada to advance clean technologies and transition to net-zero by 2050.
  • Increase the understanding of Nova Scotia’s geology, as it relates to critical minerals, and provide this information to interested parties in a useful manner.
  • Review the current regulatory framework and identify opportunities to help project proponents navigate regulations, incentivize critical minerals projects, and identify potential regulatory efficiencies and improvements.
  • Support the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia involvement in opportunities related to critical minerals.
  • Create and/or support sustainable economic opportunities within Nova Scotia through job creation, economic growth, and increased competition.
  • Provide incentives for innovative research and development to strengthen exploration, mining, mid-stream processing, and clean technologies.
  • Enhance public education and awareness regarding the environment, geoscience, critical minerals, and geoscience literacy.
  • Work collaboratively with government departments and agencies, the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, and other interested parties to advance the intent of the Strategy.

Pillars of the Strategy

To achieve the above objectives, the Strategy is based on six pillars which will develop and advance the provincial sector.

 

Pillar One: Critical Minerals Geoscience

Through targeted geoscience research, including in collaboration with external partners, the Strategy aims to increase the understanding of sector potential and enhance the dissemination of data that will inform provincial exploration and development efforts. Pursued activities to support this Pillar will include:

  • Conduct and support research focused on increasing the understanding of Nova Scotia’s 16 targeted critical minerals.
  • Assess the potential for critical mineral recovery from brownfield sites, reprocessing of tailings, and alternative sources of critical minerals.
  • Enhance the availability of geoscience data to better support critical mineral industry members and other interested parties.
  • Support the exploration community to advance critical mineral projects.

 

Pillar Two: Review the Regulatory Framework

The Province of Nova Scotia is committed to reviewing the regulatory process to ensure that a framework is in place that is efficient, advances critical minerals projects, and ensures that environmental, labour, and legal requirements are followed. To achieve this within the current regulatory framework, the following opportunities will be sought:

  • Improve collaboration and communication through a critical minerals project facilitator to help proponents navigate the regulatory process.
  • Review financial tools to find incentives for critical minerals projects.
  • Review processes used by other jurisdictions to achieve regulatory efficiencies.
  • Work with regulators to explore regulatory mechanisms to allow for mineral recovery from waste on historical mine sites.

 

Pillar Three: Opportunities with Mi’kmaw Partners

The Province is committed to meaningful consultation and increased collaboration with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia. To achieve this, work under this Pillar will endeavour to:

  • Support capacity building and knowledge sharing on critical minerals regarding environmental stewardship and economic opportunities.
  • Facilitate the participation of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia in mineral exploration and development, and critical minerals supply chain opportunities.
  • Encourage Mi’kmaw collaboration and partnerships with proponents and other interested parties (e.g., academia, associations, etc.) resulting from local projects and broader critical mineral initiatives.

 

Pillar Four: Opportunities for Nova Scotia

The Strategy seeks to create provincial participation opportunities in the upstream, midstream, and downstream portions of the critical minerals supply chain. Through technical expertise and collaboration, the Strategy will:

  • Analyze the critical minerals supply chain including skilled labour needs, the resilience and sustainability of the supply chain, and existing barriers, with an aim to identify economic opportunities for Nova Scotia.
  • Work to support the inclusion of racialized and marginalized groups, including people from the Indigenous, African Nova Scotian, and 2SLGTBQIA+ communities, immigrants and newcomers, people with disabilities, and women within critical minerals opportunities.
  • Assess opportunities for Nova Scotia in midstream and downstream critical mineral value chains.

 

Pillar Five: Innovation, Research, and Development

The province aims to advance and support its research and development posture, innovation, and collaboration across the critical minerals sector. This will be accomplished by working to:

  • Connect interested parties with external funding opportunities, information sharing and facilitation, and supporting innovative advancements.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships to align innovative research and development with provincial, territorial, and federal initiatives.
  • Leverage and support Pan-Canadian critical minerals initiatives.

 

Pillar Six: Enhancing Public Awareness

The Government will seek to enhance public awareness on the importance of critical minerals for the green energy transition and share the opportunities that it will generate for Nova Scotians. Pillar Six will aim to achieve this through:

  • Support geoscience and mineral literacy in Nova Scotia.
  • Communicate the connection between the supply of critical minerals and the emission reduction targets set by the provincial and federal governments.
  • Make connections between technologies used by the populace every day and critical minerals.
  • Integrate lay-language critical mineral information in educational products and programs.

Nova Scotia’s Critical Minerals

In consideration of Canada’s Critical Minerals List, the province has adapted a focused approach to define their own provincial critical minerals list. Through their tailored criteria that prioritized provincial strategic opportunities, supply and demand imbalances, and emission reduction considerations, the following were identified as minerals of interest:

  • Antimony
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Graphite
  • Germanium
  • Gallium
  • Indium
  • Lithium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Niobium
  • Rare Earth Elements
  • Tantalum
  • Tin
  • Tungsten
  • Zinc

Next Steps

As part of Nova Scotia’s Critical Minerals Strategy, annual action plans will be drafted to propose expected actions to be completed during the next reporting period and to summarize actions completed over the previous reporting period. These action plans will also enable the province to best position its resources and alignment with partners and the evolving sector. Additionally, to ensure that the province continues to prioritize the minerals that it deems most pertinent, the Nova Scotia Critical Minerals List will be reviewed and revised every two years. And finally, as the critical minerals industry advances and engagement continues, Nova Scotia’s Critical Minerals Strategy will also be reviewed and updated to best position the provincial sector. This will be accompanied by the release of work plans that include new initiatives and programs. 

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