Critical minerals are used in specialized batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines; they’re essential for renewable energy and clean technology applications. They’re also needed for advanced manufacturing supply chains including defense and security, electronics, agriculture, medical applications, automotive/parts manufacturing, and critical infrastructure. The global demand for critical minerals is growing rapidly; the demand for lithium alone is expected to increase as many countries aggressively pursue renewable energy and decarbonization initiatives.
Canada has an abundance of valuable critical minerals, and the province of Manitoba has the potential to be a significant contributor to the North American critical mineral supply chain. Mining is Manitoba’s second leading primary resource sector after agriculture, producing in excess of $1.0 billion dollars’ worth of mineral product annually; Manitoba has also advanced its green initiatives and hydropower.
Industry and investors are seeing phenomenal mining opportunities in that province. Manitoba-based mining company Snow Lake Resources (doing business as Snow Lake Lithium) is investing resources and preparing for the growing electric vehicle demand with a “green, all-electric mining and refining operation offering a secure and local supply of lithium hydroxide.” And mining company Hudbay Minerals has made significant investments in Northern Manitoba.
Manitoba ranks in the Fraser Institute’s annual top 20 list of the most attractive mining jurisdictions. In fact, Canada’s list of critical minerals are either being explored for – or are being produced – in that province.
The US Commercial Service in Canada and the Government of Manitoba’s recent online event, Introducing the Province of Manitoba’s Critical Minerals Initiatives, featured presentations and speakers from Canadian and US governments, private sector mining companies, members from the Indigenous community, and other mining industry stakeholders. Discussions noted that Manitoba supplies 100% of Canada’s cesium, lithium, and tantalum, and also produces metals including nickel, copper, zinc, and gold – all vital components for the manufacturing sector and considered an integral part of the North American supply chain.
Canada’s recent 2022 federal budget contains significant investments in critical mineral mining – up to $3.8 billion to implement Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy. The investments will assist in the development of the zero-emissions vehicle chain including batteries, permanent magnets, and other electric vehicle components. The Government of Manitoba has drafted provincial mineral policies included in its pending mineral strategy, and consultations are underway with stakeholders including rural municipalities, local governments, private organizations, developers, businesses, and the general public.
Last year, the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group met to discuss ways to strengthen and implement the Joint Action Plan for Critical Minerals Cooperation, share perspectives on strengthening critical mineral supply chains, and review President Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains and the related 100-day supply chain review.
Critical minerals are required for renewable energy and clean technology, and their global demand is growing rapidly. Companies with products and services for the mining industry may find opportunities in Manitoba, Canada.