Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to develop an integrated North American supply chain for critical minerals.
A year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump committed to such a supply chain and in January, the two neighbouring nations finalised an action plan to guide cooperation.
“By advancing this joint action plan, we are joining forces to secure access to the critical minerals — including uranium, rare earth elements and those needed for next generation batteries — that can play a key role in our economic recovery post Covid-19. These efforts will not only boost our competitiveness in global markets and create jobs for Canadians; they will also help to develop cleaner technologies to reach our net-zero target,” said O’Regan.
The Minister’s comments followed a virtual meeting of the bilateral critical minerals working group this week, in which Shawn Tupper, Associate Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Canada and Cynthia Kierscht, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs participated.
“Canada and the US discussed the effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic on the mining sector and explored opportunities to collaborate on securing access to the critical minerals needed for key manufacturing sectors such as communication technology, aerospace, defence and clean technology,” added O’Regan.
With a rich minerals sector, Canada is well positioned to supply the US with rare-earth elements and already supplies about one-quarter of its southern neighbour’s uranium needs. Canada supplies 13 of the 35 minerals that the US has identified as critical. The country is the largest supplier of potash, indium, aluminium and tellurium to the US, as well as the second-largest supplier of niobium, tungsten and magnesium. These critical minerals are used for defence, manufacturing, and high tech industries.
The action plan guides cooperation in areas such as industry engagement, efforts to secure critical minerals supply chains for strategic industries and defence, improving information sharing on mineral resources and potential cooperation in multilateral fora and with other countries.
The action plan also promotes joint initiatives, including research and development cooperation, supply chain modelling and increased support for industry.