Canada secures critical mineral supply chain with infrastructure fund

8 November 2023 | Muriel Cozier

‘Our government is strengthening the electric vehicle value chain we’re building from coast to coast…’

Canada’s government has launched its Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF), which is aimed at addressing ‘key infrastructure gaps to enable sustainable critical minerals production to connect resources to markets.’

Available over seven years, the CMIF is valued at up to CAN$1.5 billion, and will begin accepting applications when it opens its first call for proposals before the end of 2023.

Priorities supported by the CMIF include decarbonising industrial mining operations and strengthening supply chains through transportation infrastructure. It will also seek to support the participation of indigenous peoples in infrastructure and critical minerals projects.

CMIF funding will be made available through two streams, the first for pre-construction and project development, and the second for infrastructure deployment. The former will advance activities towards a ‘shovel-ready' state, while the latter will fund ‘readily deployable solutions.’

The government added that funding decisions will consider the feasibility of the proposed project and its potential to support critical minerals production in Canada, while advancing broader ‘environmental, economic, and Indigenous reconciliation objectives’. Most applicants will receive up to CAN$50 million in funding, the government said.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said: ‘With investments through the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund and the Strategic Innovation Fund, our government is strengthening the electric vehicle value chain we’re building from coast to coast by adding value to our critical minerals resource, from mineral processing to manufacturing and recycling.’

Just over a year ago Canada’s government struck deals with German car producers Volkswagen AG and Mercedes Benz centered on sustainable battery manufacturing and meeting demand for electric vehicles.

Securing critical minerals has become a priority for governments around the world. In September the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry Research and Energy adopted a draft Critical Raw Materials Act. The measures are aimed at boosting the supply of strategic raw materials crucial for securing the EU’s digital transition.

In May the UK government announced a new Critical Mineral Task Force to provide advice on where dependencies exist in the UK’s critical mineral supply chain and how industry can protect its supply.

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