Let's Talk Canada's Critical Minerals list and methodology

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Status: Closed


Comments and input for this consultation will be accepted from December 11, 2023 to February 16, 2024.

The purpose of this consultation is to receive feedback on updated criteria that will define mineral criticality for Canada. These criteria will determine which minerals are placed on the Critical Minerals List.

This consultation targets only Canada’s Critical Minerals list, not the eligibility of specified critical minerals in specific funding programs or tax incentives (for example, Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund, the Critical Minerals Exploration Tax Credit or the Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit).

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the criteria?
  • Are all criteria needed?
  • Would any additional criteria be useful?
  • Are there specific methodologies that would be more useful to determine criticality?

Please submit your feedback on this consultation using the Submit button at the bottom of this page.


Criteria to define Canada's critical minerals

Criterion 1: Essential to Canada’s economic or national security

Minerals deemed important for economic security may be considered critical. These minerals are important in supporting key industries, supply chains, and the overall economy. The objectives of economic security are to make the Canadian economy resilient, keep Canadians more secure, and simultaneously promote economic prosperity. Minerals listed on Canada’s critical minerals list are crucial for the economy and are used in various industries. Their availability and price could have significant impacts on the economy.

The various critical minerals lists produced by provinces and territories will also be considered since each province and territory has minerals that are relevant to its own regional economic security and prosperity.

Minerals deemed important to national security may be considered critical, such as those used in defense applications, aerospace technology, or other strategic military purposes.

Minerals that are necessary for global food supply and production may also be deemed critical.

Criterion 2: Required for our national transition to a sustainable low-carbon and digital economy

Critical minerals are the building blocks for the low-carbon and digital economy. Minerals that are essential components of advanced technologies, such as renewable energy systems, electric vehicle batteries, and advanced technology devices, may be considered critical due to their significance in supporting the reduction of carbon emissions and advancing Canada's digital economy.

Some of the value chains considered important for the transition to a low-carbon and digital economy include but are not limited to:

  • Clean technologies, including zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), wind turbines, solar panels, advanced batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and small modular reactors
  • Information and communication technologies, including semiconductors
  • Advanced manufacturing inputs and materials, such as defence applications, permanent magnets, ceramics, high value-added metals, electronic materials, composites, polymers, and biomaterials

Criterion 3: A sustainable and strategic source of critical minerals for our international allies

Some of Canada’s international allies have created their own critical minerals lists, identifying where they are looking for help in sourcing key minerals for their own domestic use.

A mineral may be deemed critical if Canada has a surplus not required for domestic use and therefore has the potential to become a key exporter into these markets.

Increasing the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals for domestic use and for our international allies is a key objective of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy. Canada's allies are increasingly looking to ensure materials entering their countries are from responsible sources with strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) credentials. Creating a sustainable and ethical mineral supply chain supports and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy along the value chain.

Canada's role as a current and potential supplier of critical minerals and value-added products, processes, and technologies adds an additional dimension to the evaluation of criticality, which may be less relevant for our international allies as they develop their own critical mineral lists.

Note that a mineral to be deemed “critical” must satisfy only one of the first 3 criteria above and both criteria below.

Criterion 4: Mineral supply is threatened

Minerals must have a threat to their supply to be considered critical. In some cases, Canada may be the only allied potential or current supplier, therefore making Canada a priority supplier to other countries.

Supply threats may arise from a variety of issues, for example, if:

  • global demand is forecast to significantly exceed global supply
  • production is overly concentrated in few sources globally, especially where the sources are from non-allied countries
  • the supply chain is susceptible to disruption through geopolitical events or manipulation
  • the potential for substitution is low

The extent to which a few countries or companies dominate the global supply of a mineral can increase supply chain vulnerability. Net-import reliance from non-allied countries for minerals at different stages of the value chain, from extraction to primary processed products, poses greater risks.

The projected future supply and demand for individual minerals, considering global economic trends, technological advancements, and potential shifts in consumption patterns, are important for determining criticality. Where demand is forecast to outstrip supply, supply chain disruptions may occur, and downstream sectors may be unable to meet the needs of Canadians, the economy, and our global partners. An important factor relating to a commodity's supply and demand is the feasibility of substituting the mineral with alternative materials. Minerals with limited substitution possibilities may be considered more critical.

Criterion 5: The mineral has a reasonable likelihood of being produced in Canada

Canada must have the potential to produce the mineral in order for it to be considered critical in the near- to medium-term. Canada is geologically diverse and contains many minerals used in the modern economy, but not all minerals have the potential for economic extraction.

In addition to a reasonable likelihood of being produced in Canada, the mineral must have the capacity to be processed into usable forms that are required as inputs for technologies (for example, lithium processed to lithium hydroxide). Minerals must be capable of being economically shipped to relevant markets.

Some minerals are byproducts of the extraction and processing of other source minerals. Byproduct minerals can be limited by the profitability and mineral potential of the source minerals targeted for extraction; therefore, source mineral economics must also be considered when evaluating mineral criticality.

Conclusion

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Canada's critical minerals list is updated in a fair and transparent manner that provides consistency and assurance to all stakeholders. We welcome comments on the defining criteria, proposed methodology, and criteria weighting used to define mineral criticality in Canada. Any modifications to the current list of 31 minerals will be carefully considered and justifiable within the parameters of these criteria.

Status: Closed


Comments and input for this consultation will be accepted from December 11, 2023 to February 16, 2024.

The purpose of this consultation is to receive feedback on updated criteria that will define mineral criticality for Canada. These criteria will determine which minerals are placed on the Critical Minerals List.

This consultation targets only Canada’s Critical Minerals list, not the eligibility of specified critical minerals in specific funding programs or tax incentives (for example, Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund, the Critical Minerals Exploration Tax Credit or the Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit).

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you agree with the criteria?
  • Are all criteria needed?
  • Would any additional criteria be useful?
  • Are there specific methodologies that would be more useful to determine criticality?

Please submit your feedback on this consultation using the Submit button at the bottom of this page.


Criteria to define Canada's critical minerals

Criterion 1: Essential to Canada’s economic or national security

Minerals deemed important for economic security may be considered critical. These minerals are important in supporting key industries, supply chains, and the overall economy. The objectives of economic security are to make the Canadian economy resilient, keep Canadians more secure, and simultaneously promote economic prosperity. Minerals listed on Canada’s critical minerals list are crucial for the economy and are used in various industries. Their availability and price could have significant impacts on the economy.

The various critical minerals lists produced by provinces and territories will also be considered since each province and territory has minerals that are relevant to its own regional economic security and prosperity.

Minerals deemed important to national security may be considered critical, such as those used in defense applications, aerospace technology, or other strategic military purposes.

Minerals that are necessary for global food supply and production may also be deemed critical.

Criterion 2: Required for our national transition to a sustainable low-carbon and digital economy

Critical minerals are the building blocks for the low-carbon and digital economy. Minerals that are essential components of advanced technologies, such as renewable energy systems, electric vehicle batteries, and advanced technology devices, may be considered critical due to their significance in supporting the reduction of carbon emissions and advancing Canada's digital economy.

Some of the value chains considered important for the transition to a low-carbon and digital economy include but are not limited to:

  • Clean technologies, including zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), wind turbines, solar panels, advanced batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and small modular reactors
  • Information and communication technologies, including semiconductors
  • Advanced manufacturing inputs and materials, such as defence applications, permanent magnets, ceramics, high value-added metals, electronic materials, composites, polymers, and biomaterials

Criterion 3: A sustainable and strategic source of critical minerals for our international allies

Some of Canada’s international allies have created their own critical minerals lists, identifying where they are looking for help in sourcing key minerals for their own domestic use.

A mineral may be deemed critical if Canada has a surplus not required for domestic use and therefore has the potential to become a key exporter into these markets.

Increasing the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals for domestic use and for our international allies is a key objective of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy. Canada's allies are increasingly looking to ensure materials entering their countries are from responsible sources with strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) credentials. Creating a sustainable and ethical mineral supply chain supports and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy along the value chain.

Canada's role as a current and potential supplier of critical minerals and value-added products, processes, and technologies adds an additional dimension to the evaluation of criticality, which may be less relevant for our international allies as they develop their own critical mineral lists.

Note that a mineral to be deemed “critical” must satisfy only one of the first 3 criteria above and both criteria below.

Criterion 4: Mineral supply is threatened

Minerals must have a threat to their supply to be considered critical. In some cases, Canada may be the only allied potential or current supplier, therefore making Canada a priority supplier to other countries.

Supply threats may arise from a variety of issues, for example, if:

  • global demand is forecast to significantly exceed global supply
  • production is overly concentrated in few sources globally, especially where the sources are from non-allied countries
  • the supply chain is susceptible to disruption through geopolitical events or manipulation
  • the potential for substitution is low

The extent to which a few countries or companies dominate the global supply of a mineral can increase supply chain vulnerability. Net-import reliance from non-allied countries for minerals at different stages of the value chain, from extraction to primary processed products, poses greater risks.

The projected future supply and demand for individual minerals, considering global economic trends, technological advancements, and potential shifts in consumption patterns, are important for determining criticality. Where demand is forecast to outstrip supply, supply chain disruptions may occur, and downstream sectors may be unable to meet the needs of Canadians, the economy, and our global partners. An important factor relating to a commodity's supply and demand is the feasibility of substituting the mineral with alternative materials. Minerals with limited substitution possibilities may be considered more critical.

Criterion 5: The mineral has a reasonable likelihood of being produced in Canada

Canada must have the potential to produce the mineral in order for it to be considered critical in the near- to medium-term. Canada is geologically diverse and contains many minerals used in the modern economy, but not all minerals have the potential for economic extraction.

In addition to a reasonable likelihood of being produced in Canada, the mineral must have the capacity to be processed into usable forms that are required as inputs for technologies (for example, lithium processed to lithium hydroxide). Minerals must be capable of being economically shipped to relevant markets.

Some minerals are byproducts of the extraction and processing of other source minerals. Byproduct minerals can be limited by the profitability and mineral potential of the source minerals targeted for extraction; therefore, source mineral economics must also be considered when evaluating mineral criticality.

Conclusion

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Canada's critical minerals list is updated in a fair and transparent manner that provides consistency and assurance to all stakeholders. We welcome comments on the defining criteria, proposed methodology, and criteria weighting used to define mineral criticality in Canada. Any modifications to the current list of 31 minerals will be carefully considered and justifiable within the parameters of these criteria.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Please provide your comments and feedback on this consultation.

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Page last updated: 20 Feb 2024, 01:34 PM