As demand for critical minerals is increasing in the context of the global shift towards a green energy future, Canada’s Minister of Resources Seamus O’Regan Jr. earlier this week announced the release of a Canadian list of 31 metals and minerals deemed critical “for the sustainable economic success of Canada and our allies—minerals that can be produced in Canada, are essential to domestic industry and security and have the potential to support secure and resilient supply chains to meet global demand.”
A result of extensive collaboration and consultation of various levels of government and the private sector, the list “prioritizes building an industrial base for the low-carbon, digitized economy, and provides greater certainty and predictability to industry, trading partners and investors on what Canada has to offer.”
While slightly shorter, the Canadian list largely mirrors its U.S. peer — the list of 35 minerals deemed critical to the United States’ economic and national security well-being as released by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2018.
A significant difference, however, is that Canada’s list acknowledges the importance of what we would consider traditional mainstay metals like Copper, Nickel and Zinc — which, as followers of ARPN well know, are not only key components of 21st Century technology in their own right, but are also “gateway metals” that “unlock” a slew of other critical metals and minerals.
(for reference, see ARPN’s “Through the Gateway” report here.)
During the public comment period for the U.S. critical minerals list, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty provided comments advocating the inclusion of the above-referenced gateway metals the processing of which in turn yields access to Cobalt, Arsenic, Rhenium, Tellurium, REEs, PGMs, Indium and Germanium. (Read his comments here).
The release of Canada’s critical minerals list is an important signal that Canada — one of the United States’ closest allies next to Australia when it comes to challenging China’s critical mineral supply chain dominance – grasps the connection between primary mining materials and their critical co-products. Here’s hoping that the inclusion of Copper, Nickel and Zinc in the Canadian list will also prompt the drafters of a forthcoming updated U.S. critical minerals list to acknowledge the importance of Gateway Metals.