Canadians want to seize opportunity in Critical Minerals

May 13, 2020

Today, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) released a new national poll, which highlights public enthusiasm for Canada to grow market share as a preferred global supplier of critical minerals, based on abundance and leading environmental standards. 

As demand for minerals and metals continues to grow, there is increasing focus on what are referred to as “critical minerals” – vital in the aerospace, defence, telecommunications, computing, and an array of clean technologies such as solar panels and electric car batteries.  China has been a major supplier of these minerals, but Canada has an opportunity to play a larger role in this marketplace as customers look for products made to high environmental standards, such as Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining program, developed by MAC. 

“Canadians support growing our market share as a preferred global supplier of critical minerals, products and technologies that are essential to building a net-zero economy,” said the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “As we work to emerge from the challenges and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, Canada’s critical mineral resources will lead us to a more competitive and prosperous industry.” 

Almost 90 per cent of those surveyed for MAC by Abacus Data like the idea of Canada being a preferred source for critical minerals and would like to see government take a number of steps to support this approach. 

  • 88 per cent want to see Canada increase its role in producing critical minerals for world markets. 
  • 86 per cent want to encourage international investment into Canadian critical minerals and metals companies that are sustainability leaders. 
  • 83 per cent want to encourage Canadian production of critical minerals so Canada can compete with China. 
  • 81 per cent want to promote interest in Canadian critical minerals by drawing attention to Canada’s high standards of sustainability.

“Canada is a top five country in global production of 15 minerals and metals, including several critical minerals essential to new technologies such as cobalt, copper, precious metals, nickel, uranium. We have the potential to expand in lithium, magnesium and rare earths,” said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of MAC. “More than a decade of Canadian leadership in responsible mining practices is giving us an additional edge, and we see more investors and customers examining how their suppliers approach environmental responsibility. The market is growing and Canada’s opportunity is clear.”

Recently, Canada and the U.S. finalized a Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration which, among other things, will attract greater investment in Canadian mining projects and advance the mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors. This action plan, along with the government’s enhanced focus on the mining industry through the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, show that there is understanding on the role Canada can play in responsibly sourcing the materials needed for the items used daily by people across the country and globally. 

“Canadians may not all have a detailed knowledge about the mining sector, but they can clearly spot the chance to leverage our advantages in terms of abundant resources and the high standards of responsibility that our industry is known for. They know that winning a bigger share of this growing market means more well paying jobs and stronger communities,” concluded Gratton. 

To access MAC’s polling data pertaining to critical minerals, please visit https://mining.ca/documents/abacus-polling-data-focused-on-critical-minerals/

The mining industry is a major sector of Canada’s economy, contributing $97 billion to national GDP and responsible for 19 per cent of Canada’s total domestic exports. Canada’s mining sector employs 626,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses.

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