Based on the information and feedback it received from industry, First Nations, research institutions, market analysts and other experts, the Committee said it was time for the Canadian government step up its game, take advantage of the high environmental, social and governance standards of the Canadian mining industry and the involvement of indigenous communities, and take concrete steps to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign markets while remaining positioning in world markets.
the report points out that Canada has everything it needs to work towards such a goal, as it produces 60 minerals, including some critical minerals, and it is the only nation in the Western Hemisphere that has copper, cobalt, rare earth elements, graphite, lithium, manganese and nickel deposits, all of which are necessary for the production of advanced batteries for electric vehicles.
Relaunching the government-industry relationship
The Committee proposed five courses of action calling on the federal government to renew its support for the Canadian mining sector by increase its capacity to perform geoscientific work, including by effectively evaluating mineral resources and considering essential mineral potential in infrastructure, land management and conservation decision-making processes, in close collaboration with provincial governments and territorial communities and indigenous communities.
The group also stressed that project appraisal processes need to be streamlined and their complexity reduced, as going through different levels of government tends to make them long and convoluted.
Support for the mining industry is also suggested in the form of broadening the scope of financial and fiscal measures, such as the mineral exploration tax credit and the flow-through share system, to stimulate the investment in essential mineral exploration projects.
The federal administration is also invited to work with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and governments, the mining industry, and research and educational institutions to develop a strategy that involves the potential creation of an office of essential minerals in the Government of Canada.
Such an office would support the development of supply and value chains in essential minerals by coordinating the efforts of the various stakeholders in the sector and by capitalizing on the strengths and assets of each province and territory. He would also lead the development of collaborations with key international partners, including the United States, and would be responsible for assessing the potential to establish a strategic reserve of essential minerals in Canada to attract and meet the needs of Canadian processing companies in Canada. added value. .
Increase processing capacity
Support for the establishment of processing facilities is also mentioned as an important tactic to increase the number of markets for essential minerals in the country and to build a national industry and national expertise.
According to the report, this can be achieved by helping to set up demonstration facilities for manufacturing promising value-added products, ensuring there is no overlap with provincial facilities, as well as by evaluating the possibility of broadening the scope of financial and fiscal measures, such as the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and the flow-through share system.
In addition, it is suggested that the federal government support research on essential minerals, including the development of research infrastructure and technological innovation platforms, and encourage initiatives aimed at developing mining and mining activities. treatment of minerals that reduce the environmental impact of the sector.
Reduce the carbon footprint of mining
The key actions are the integration of renewable and low greenhouse gas emission energy into off-grid mining energy systems in remote and northern regions, as well as the implementation of best practices to electrify mining operations. and increased investments in transport and communication infrastructure to improve access to mineral resources. Resources.
In the opinion of the Commissioners, reducing the carbon footprint of the mining industry must go hand in hand with the decarbonization of the entire Canadian economy, which creates a cyclical process. They believe that the strategic electrification of transportation across the country involves devoting budgets to building a Canadian electric vehicle battery industry and thereby ensuring access to an adequate national supply of essential minerals needed. to their manufacture.
To promote such approaches, the Committee proposes to put in place public purchasing policies favoring the purchase and use of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the electrification of the vehicle fleets of mining operations; assess the possibility of using existing mechanisms, such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to finance transportation electrification projects; and offer workforce training programs in new manufacturing sectors, such as electric vehicle battery factories.