From copper to nickel, Canada wants to facilitate the development of its mining industry

A well-established tradition. It was in Canada that the plans for the Caledonian nickel factories in the north and south were drawn up. At design offices in Toronto. It was in Sudbury, the country’s mining capital, that many New Caledonian operators of the two New Caledonian nickel plants were then trained.

Canada, which is rich in raw materials, wants to accelerate its production of minerals by, in particular, simplifying the access of mining companies to these resources with a view to becoming a “first choice global green supplier”, according to a new strategy unveiled Friday.

“These minerals represent the opportunity of a generation for Canada”writes Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, in the introduction to the strategy and emphasizes Canada’s versatility in this area, which ranges from e.g. “explorer” to “Recycling” of these resources.


Sectional view of the Eagle’s Nest underground mining project in Canada



©Noront Resources

The 61-page document states in particular that the country is home to huge untapped deposits of so-called minerals. “reviews” such as lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt or even copper.

However, under current conditions, it takes five to 25 years for new mines to be approved and operational, says the document, which acknowledges the presence of “complex regulatory and licensing processes” can hinder “economic competitiveness of the sector” and limit investments.

Justin Trudeau’s government therefore plans to simplify this process, in particular by eliminating the duplicative investigations at the federal and provincial levels and by ensuring prior consultation and involvement of Indigenous peoples.

“There is no energy transition without critical minerals”indicates for its part that the Minister of Innovation, François-Philippe Champagne, emphasizes that they are “essential to our daily lives (…) especially for the production of wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, solar panels and semiconductors”.

Canada

The large mining operation in Voisey’s Bay in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Eagle’s Nest would be its counterpart in Ontario



©Vale Canada

With global demand set to rise and China controlling much of the existing supply, the minister believes “Canada is very well positioned to take advantage of this” while the US and its allies are increasingly seeking to free themselves from the Chinese monopoly.

In particular, Ottawa hopes to harmonize “regulation with (its) American partners”we read in the document without giving details.

He also mentions the need for new infrastructure such as roads and ports to access and exploit deposits.

The new strategy does not come with any new funding, but in its 2022 budget, the federal government has earmarked C$3.8 billion (€2.6 billion) over eight years for the sector – including a 30% tax grant to stimulate investigation.

Sudbury

A giant nickel 5 cent coin, symbol of the city of Sudbury in Ontario, Canada



©AFP

In late October, Canada had already tightened its investment rules to make it harder for foreign state-owned companies to access its key minerals sector, in response to an outcry against Chinese investment.

He also recently ordered three Chinese companies to sell their stakes in Canadian companies in the sector.

Canada is still hesitant to begin the exploitation of polymetallic nodules, although it has an underwater mining and exploration company based in Vancouver.

Vessel for utilization and extraction of polymetallic nodules.

The Canadian company Deep Green, based in Vancouver, claims to be part of a green industrial logic



©Deep Green/The Metals Company

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