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construction|energy|iron-ore|power|project|projects|resources|security|steel|supply chain|sustainable

Canada expands critical minerals list to 34

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson

11th June 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Monday announced an expansion of Canada’s critical minerals list, adding high-purity iron, phosphorus, and silicon metal to the previously established 31 minerals.

This update brings the total to 34 materials deemed essential for the country’s economic future and energy transition.

The newly included minerals play crucial roles in various high-demand technologies and industries. Silicon metal, for instance, is indispensable in the production of chips and semiconductors, which are foundational to almost all electronic devices.

High-purity iron is a key component in the production of green steel, contributing significantly to decarbonisation efforts.

Phosphorus, combined with potash, is vital for food security through its use in fertilizers and is also integral to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, a strategic element in the electric vehicle value chain.

"By updating Canada's critical minerals list, we are taking a proactive step to ensure that Canada's efforts to seize the generational economic opportunity presented by our critical minerals wealth is well informed by the most accurate market trends, geopolitical factors and science,” Wilkinson stated.

Canada first released its critical minerals list in March 2021, committing to a triennial review to ensure relevance to current market and geopolitical conditions. The recent update followed extensive consultations with provinces, territories, industry stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and other interested parties. These consultations began on December 11 and concluded on February 16.

The refreshed list aims to bolster Canada’s position in the global market, particularly in sectors vital for the transition to a greener economy.

TSX- and ASX-listed Champion Iron welcomed the addition of high-purity iron-ore to the critical minerals list.

"We applaud the government of Canada for joining the governments of Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador in identifying high-purity iron ore in their respective critical minerals list. Such a recognition highlights our company's rare solution to decarbonise the steel industry, which represents nearly 10% of global carbon emissions," said Champion CEO David Cataford.

"The Labrador Trough hosts one of the largest resources of high-purity iron globally, creating an exceptional opportunity for Canada to become a global sustainable leader in the green steel supply chain. Leveraging our skilled workforce, access to hydroelectric power, supporting communities and governments, we continue to work on several growth projects, including our direct reduction pellet feed project and the potential to advance the Kami project with a strategic partner," said Cataford.

TSX-V-listed Arianne Phosphate said the addition of phosphate to the list acknowledges the importance of the mineral and the growing understanding of its necessity.

With its addition, Canada joins two of its provinces, Quebec and Ontario, as well as the European Union in recognising the significance of phosphate and adding it to their respective lists.

Arianne hosts the world's largest independent greenfield phosphate deposit. Situated in Quebec, the company can produce a high-purity/low-contaminant phosphate concentrate, ideal for use in both fertiliser and technical-grade applications, including the production of purified phosphoric acid (PPA).  PPA is the ingredient required in the production of LFP batteries, with many industry analysts seeing a shortage within the next few years.  Arianne's Lac à Paul project is fully permitted and shovel ready.

"An operating Canadian-based phosphate mine, along with the construction of a downstream PPA facility, would help relieve the growing anxiety around supply and can address future needs whether it be for agriculture or advanced technologies such as batteries," said Arianne president Brian Ostroff.

Arianne is undergoing a prefeasibility study designed to look at the opportunity of constructing a large-scale phosphoric acid plant in the Saguenay region of Quebec.  The facility would be able to convert high-purity igneous phosphate concentrate into a purified phosphoric acid for use in important downstream applications.  As currently envisioned, the facility would be capable of producing 350 000 t of battery-grade PPA.  The facility would also produce more than 200 000 t of a secondary phosphoric acid for use in specialty fertilisers and animal feeds.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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