At our Canadian Critical Minerals Opportunities Forum, we brought 18 of Canada’s most advanced critical mineral mining projects and technology firms – some seeking investments in excess of $1.5 billion – to meet a who’s who of mining finance: New York investment banks, Asian trading houses, equity firms, original equipment manufacturers, energy companies, and U.S. policy makers. Natural Resources Canada and Invest in Canada were also on-hand as further proof of Canada’s commitment to developing its critical minerals mining industry.
Held at the offices of law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on 6th Avenue, the energy was palpable. With proven resources of 31 critical minerals and the best expertise and permitting environment in the Americas, Canada presents exciting investment opportunities. Some attendees had come from as far away as South Korea to learn more.
Bedrock and building blocks
Critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, and rare earths are the building blocks of clean energy and our transition to a net-zero economy. Without them, neither the batteries in an EV nor the magnets in a wind turbine would even exist. Even not-so-obvious sectors being onshored in North America such as semiconductors (e.g., Intel and Micron) have a growing need for iridium and rare earths.
Everybody wants some
Once a small segment of the market, critical minerals are now moving to center stage. The global demand for lithium in the energy sector tripled between 2017 and 2022; demand for cobalt increased 70%, and demand for nickel jumped 40%. Exploration spending has increased in turn, reaching USD $320 billion in 2022 – up 30% from 2021.*
In addition, ongoing uncertainty in world affairs is leading like-minded countries to seek out stable and secure suppliers closer to home. This includes New York State, where last December, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $10 billion partnership with IBM, Micron, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, and others to establish a next-generation semiconductor research and development center at NY CREATES’ Albany NanoTech Complex.
“Canada stands as an ideal place to invest in the critical minerals needed to produce renewable energy, clean technologies, batteries, and cutting-edge manufacturing solutions,” said Consul General Tom Clark in his opening remarks.
“Canada has long been a trusted defense and security partner of the United States, as well as a secure and responsible source of the minerals deemed critical. The United States has always been Canada’s closest friend and trading partner, with our integrated industries, and shared values. Together we can reach our goal of net zero emissions, remain globally competitive in the industries of tomorrow, and assure Canadians and Americans of bright futures.”
In his keynote address, John Gallagher, Managing Director of Cerberus Capital Management and a former security advisor to the Pentagon, said Canada is the most important strategic partner for the U.S. in securing its supply chain and pursuing its energy transition. Divya Shah, Managing Director at the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), also highlighted the CA $6 billion in incentives the bank has created to encourage development of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in remote regions where critical minerals are typically found.
Decades of mining expertise
Canada is already a global mining powerhouse, with 60 types of metals and minerals, extensive mining expertise, and a firm commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. The country’s supportive regulatory environment includes agreements between mining companies, Indigenous communities, and governments.
Its tax policies for mining are among the most competitive in the world, with numerous provisions to support investors at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels. The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) are home to 43% of the world’s public mining companies, making Canada a leading destination for international mining finance.
From strength to strength
Now, Canada is translating these advantages into global leadership in critical minerals.
“Canada is a mining powerhouse, offering investment opportunities for global companies looking to expand and build the economy of the future,” added Laurel Broten, CEO of Invest in Canada.
“In addition to representing strategic minerals and metals, the projects place an emphasis on practicing sustainable mining and serving the supply chains of the future. These opportunities align with the strategic priorities of global investors seeking to decarbonize transportation and accelerate the clean energy transition.”
Backed by a comprehensive strategy
Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy is at the core of these efforts. Launched in December 2022, the Strategy focuses on opportunities at every stage of the value chain for Canada’s 31 critical minerals – from exploration to recycling.
Backed by $3.8 billion in federal funding, the Strategy outlines concrete measures to accelerate regulatory processes, ensure meaningful and ongoing Indigenous partnership throughout the value chain, and to ensure that the Strategy is in line with Canada’s ambitious climate and nature protection goals.
Becoming the critical minerals supplier of choice
In launching the Strategy, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson said, “Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy will enable this country to seize the generational economic opportunity presented by critical minerals, creating sustainable, well-paying jobs while growing our economy.
It will position Canada as the global supplier of choice for the critical minerals and clean technologies needed for the green, digital global economy — and it will help advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.”
In New York, the opportunity was clear for all to see.
Email us to learn more about investment opportunities in Canada’s critical minerals sector.
* Critical Minerals Market Review 2023. International Energy Association, 2023.