critical minerals
A bulk carrier ship is loaded with ore at a port. (iStock photos)

Canadian governments are enthusiastically looking to capitalize on growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and the minerals they require. While Canada’s mining and manufacturing sectors stand to benefit from these trends, not all stages of the mine-to-market value chain are being adequately addressed.

Governments have supported the extraction of key critical minerals, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, graphite and copper. Of late, Ottawa and provinces have also committed billions to lure international players to engage in downstream manufacturing. 

What’s missing is the middle step. Canada has not similarly invested in mid-stream projects that process these critical minerals into a product that downstream manufacturers can use. 

Right now, this crucial middle step takes place largely in geopolitically fraught locations. The cost and environmental impact of transporting minerals is a strike against the economic and environmental goals articulated by governments to justify their investments in upstream and downstream projects. 

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James Walsh has 15 years of experience advising executives on domestic and global energy markets and policy. He has worked across Canada, the United States and Europe and is currently based in Atlantic...