Ukraine war and fragile supply chains increasing critical minerals importance: Canada’s resources minister

Canada’s Natural Resources minister told delegates at the 2022 PDAC convention yesterday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fragility of global supply chains have ‘heightened’ the importance of critical minerals.

Minister Jonathan Wilkinson described the transition to net zero as a ‘competitive race’ between the world’s largest economies, with demands for battery metals like lithium and graphite to increase by 1,000% in the future.

“There is a risk of them becoming a bottleneck rather than an enabler of energy transition and so early and rapid development is required,” he told the audience during PDAC’s opening ceremony. The event returns to Toronto this year after a virtual event took place in COVID-affected 2021.

He added that Canada possesses all of the 31 minerals in the country’s critical minerals list, but highlighted the need to reduce project development timelines in the mining industry.

“Going forward it simply cannot take us 15 years to develop a new mine,” he said, adding that the government’s recently launched Regional Energy and Resource Tables will bring together different groups in the sector ‘to identify and seize the greatest opportunities for growth’.

The minister also said that the government is currently working to strengthen the Canada-US critical minerals action plan and boosting mineral security in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

“This is a historic time for Canada’s mining industry. If we are thoughtful and bold in our actions, we can leverage Canada’s inhered advantages…to create a truly sustainable, prosperous, low-carbon and dynamic natural resources economy,” Wilkinson concluded.