Global mining leader Ontario announces maiden critical minerals strategy

The Canadian province of Ontario has unveiled a first ever Critical Minerals Strategy, which aims to unleash the region’s mineral potential and support a ‘made in Ontario’ electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

The five-year strategy aims to better connect mines in Ontario’s far North to the manufacturing sector in the South – specifically to local EV and battery manufacturers – while positioning the province as a ‘global leader’ in critical minerals supply.

“The Critical Minerals Strategy is our government’s blueprint to connect industries, resources and workers,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a press release. “Doing so has never been more important as we secure game-changing investments in our auto sector to build the EVs and batteries of the future.”

Ontario has identified 33 critical minerals, including nickel, cobalt, lithium and rare earths. It produced about C$3.5 billion worth of critical minerals in 2020 with a mining sector that employs about 75,000 people.

As part of the new strategy, Ontario will invest $24 million over three years in its Junior Exploration Program, half of which will be invested for a critical minerals funding stream, and $5 million for a critical minerals innovation fund.

The government will also invest $250,000 to support the development of two new battery production lines at a future Battery Material Park being developed by Electra Battery Materials. It also aims to develop a regulatory framework for the recovery of minerals from mine tailings and waste.