Canada’s federal budget will include an investment of at least $2 billion in a strategy to accelerate the production and processing of critical minerals needed for the electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain, two senior government sources said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which is due to publish its budget on Thursday, will make the investment to speed up the extraction and processing of critical minerals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt and magnesium, sources familiar with the matter said but were not authorized to to speak on record.
The investment could span more than a year, but sources declined to comment on the timeframe.
Canada last month announced financial support for the construction of two facilities to manufacture battery materials for electric vehicles and a battery gigafactory, but no agreements for mineral extraction or refining have yet been announced.
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“There are some specific projects that we are currently reviewing and working on,” Natural Resources Secretary Jonathan Wilkinson said in a recent phone interview with Reuters.
All potential projects, “whether it’s extraction or processing, need to be accelerated significantly, and that’s what the critical minerals strategy will be about,” he added.
Canada’s Treasury Department declined to confirm whether the investment would be included in the budget to be presented by Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland in the House of Commons.
“Canada has an abundance of valuable critical mineral deposits and with the right investments, this sector can create thousands of new good jobs, grow our economy and make Canada an important part of the growing global critical minerals industry,” said Adrienne Vaupshas, Press officer for Freeland.
There are “many active discussions” between the Canadian government and companies “about the need to accelerate and expand the production of raw materials used in batteries for electric vehicles,” one of the sources said.
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Canada, which is home to a large mining sector, has set up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in green technologies and is trying to court companies operating at all levels of the EV supply chain for the future of its manufacturing core to secure Ontario as the world seeks to cut carbon emissions.
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Ontario is geographically close to US automakers in Michigan and Ohio, and General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Stellantis have all announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles at factories in the Canadian province.
Because it can take many years — even a decade or more — to open new mines, Wilkinson said some of the projects under consideration “involve tailings from existing mines from which one could extract critical minerals.”
“We’re looking at brines and oil sands, tailings ponds and all of that stuff,” he said.
Brendan Marshall, vice president of economic and northern affairs for the Mining Association of Canada, said this type of project would require research.
“There needs to be research and development” to develop technology that can identify and separate critical minerals “from the general waste stream,” Marshall said.
Among other things, Canada’s critical minerals strategy will focus on advancing research, innovation and exploration, one of the sources said.
GM said Monday it is investing $2 billion in two plants, including one that will produce an electric vehicle for commercial use in Canada. Last month, GM announced it had partnered with South Korea’s POSCO Chemical to build a battery materials manufacturing facility in Quebec.
Scott Bell, the president and chief executive officer of GM Canada, said last month that Canada’s surplus of nickel and other raw materials would be used to make cathode-active materials in the Canadian province, without elaborating.
“These companies are going to need these critical minerals that our country has, so we need to start ramping up mining and processing aggressively,” Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in Vancouver last week.
Demand for minerals needed for batteries, including lithium and cobalt, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050, according to World Bank estimates. Currently, Asia, and China in particular, dominates the global production and processing of critical minerals, rare earths and rare metals used to manufacture electric vehicles.
Constantine Karayannopoulos, president and chief executive officer of Neo Performance Materials Inc, a Toronto-based rare earth and rare metal processing company, said Canada and North America have a lot of catching up to do.
“We stand together in the West behind the Eight, behind China,” Karayannopoulos said in a telephone interview. “China dominates this space… We need a lot of money (to build the supply chain) because we’re catching up.”
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8736159/canada-budget-electric-vehicle-battery-development/ Federal budget will include $2 billion to develop batteries for electric vehicles: Sources – National