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By A.J. Roan
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Ontario future critical mineral world hub

Canadian province sets sights for strategic mineral supplier Metal Tech News – March 11, 2021


Last updated 3/11/2021 at 9:43am

Ontario Canada critical minerals ESG sustainability low-carbon economy EV

First Cobalt Corp.

First Cobalt is revitalizing the first North American cobalt refinery, a vital step toward global competitiveness for a key material in the manufacture of EV lithium-ion batteries.

With the current global shift toward sustainability, organizations, cities, and even countries are priming themselves to embrace the change. In particular, Canada's Ontario has unveiled plans to develop its first-ever critical minerals strategy and has already made good headway to set the province as a focal point for delivering valuable materials to the entire world.

"By developing this strategy, we will strengthen Ontario's position as one of North America's premier jurisdictions for responsibly-sourced critical minerals, including rare earth elements," said Ontario Minister of Energy, Mines and Northern Development Greg Rickford. "We are confident this will generate investment, reduce red tape, create jobs, and advance Indigenous participation in the sector. Local and global markets, including Ontario-based industries, are looking for reliable, responsibly-sourced critical minerals and we are ready to capitalize on this growing market demand."

Right now, Ontario is rapidly positioning itself as a global supplier, producer, and manufacturer of choice for critical minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, lithium, and platinum group elements.

Toward the transition to a low-carbon economy, Ontario has already made several key moves in aligning with this strategy, from a lithium plant in Thunder Bay, a rare earths separation test facility, and the establishment of the first and, as-of-now, sole primary cobalt refinery in North America.

"Industries across Ontario and around the world need a steady supply of critical minerals to support new technologies and emerging industries, including electric vehicles," said Rickford. "With the development of a critical minerals strategy, the province can showcase Ontario's competitive advantage, high mineral development potential and world-class mining sector."

Producing over C$10 billion worth of minerals in 2019, which accounted for 22% of Canada's total mineral production, the minerals mined in Ontario are part of a globally integrated supply chain that is used in many products and sectors worldwide.

New technologies and high-growth sectors that rely on critical minerals include electric vehicles, renewable energy, information and communications, electronics, energy, aerospace, defense, health and life sciences, mining, the list could go on.

"With an abundance of the critical minerals in Northern Ontario, along with a competitive business climate, innovation and talent, Ontario is well positioned to become a leader in the future of electric vehicle and battery manufacturing," said Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli. "In fact, recent proposed investments of almost $6 billion over the last several months in Ontario's auto sector will make our province a global hub for EV manufacturing, making us stronger and more resilient as we continue to work towards economic recovery."

As of late last year, the Ontario government matched a C$295 million investment by Ottawa to retool Ford of Canada's Oakville Assembly Complex into a global hub for electric vehicle battery production, meshing well with Ford's later announcements of a US$1 billion investment into European EV production.

The total investment into Canadian EV production for this future Ford hub has amounted to C$1.8 billion and represents one of the most significant investments in the province's auto sector in a generation.

Currently, Ontario's critical minerals strategy has a simple framework of which a discussion paper for public consultation is on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, aimed to consult with industry and indigenous communities to help guide the development of the completed outline to be released later this year.

The framework is comprised of the goals for driving critical mineral production in the province, such as generating investment, increasing global competitiveness, and supporting the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable global economy which is part of their initial commitment to drive investment to Ontario's mining sector, reduce bureaucratic limitations while maintaining growing ESG standards and creating new jobs for the greater Ontario area.

The proposal paper on Ontario's Critical Minerals Framework can be found at which is open to comments for 60 days from Mar. 10.


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