Ontario Launches New Critical Minerals Innovation Fund to Strengthen Green Economy
TIMMINS – The Ontario government is investing in the critical minerals sector by launching a two-year, $5 million Critical Minerals Innovation Fund to enhance research and development of new technologies.
The fund will support Ontario-based innovation that will help build the supply chain for clean technologies, including electric vehicles, by connecting mineral resources in the north with the manufacturing might of the south.
“Our goal is to supply our province, country and allies with the critical minerals we need to meet our climate goals and transition to a cleaner, sustainable economy,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “This investment will leverage Ontario’s expertise to tap into new and growing markets and ensure we capitalize on the growing demand for responsibly and ethically sourced critical minerals.”
The Critical Minerals Innovation Fund will help increase exploration, mining, smelting and processing of critical minerals within Ontario. The fund will promote collaboration between industry, academia and start-ups to drive the commercialization of technologies to extract and process critical minerals. This includes supporting new technologies that would allow companies to recover critical minerals from mine tailings and waste sites across the province.
“The new Critical Minerals Innovation Fund is another way our government is growing Ontario’s green economy, while building the north, supporting job creation and fostering innovation,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Ontario has everything companies need to grow and thrive, and we’re excited to see the made-in-Ontario solutions that will be developed through this fund."
Applications for the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund are now being accepted. More information is available here.
In March 2022, the Ontario government launched the Critical Minerals Strategy, a five-year plan to position Ontario as a global leader in supplying critical minerals.
Critical minerals are a subset of the raw materials needed to produce many products and specialized technologies. They do not have many viable alternatives, meaning if a critical mineral is not available, there aren’t many other minerals that can be used in its place.
In 2021, Ontario produced over $11.1 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s total mineral production and approximately $3.1 billion worth of critical minerals.
Ontario is a leading global producer and manufacturer for critical minerals, such as nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group elements.
Minerals mined and processed in Ontario support key sectors including auto manufacturing, telecommunications and national defence.
"Canada Nickel is fortunate to own a globally significant nickel sulphide development project in Timmins, Ontario. The funding announced today by the Ontario government is an important signal of its support for Ontario’s mining and downstream processing industries. We look forward to fully participating in this program as Canada Nickel advances our project, which has the potential to not only deliver zero carbon nickel and cobalt, but also provide a foundation for an entire zero carbon industrial cluster in the Timmins region."
- Mark Selby Chairman and CEO, Canada Nickel Corp.
"We are delighted to see the launch of the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund in Ontario. Ontario is one of the best jurisdictions in the world to lead the transition to a low-carbon economy. With the rapid transition of North America’s automotive sector towards electric vehicles coupled with growing consumer demand for zero emission vehicles, now is the right time for the province to capitalize on its abundant critical minerals, proximity to markets and skilled workers. We are building North America’s only critical minerals refinery for the auto sector because of these strategic advantages. We applaud the government for their foresight in launching this new fund."
- Trent Mell President and CEO, Electra Battery Materials Corporation
"The Critical Minerals Innovation Fund announced today by the Ontario government is another important step in advancing its Critical Minerals Strategy to secure advanced critical minerals production, processing, refining and recycling in the province."
- Trevor Walker President and CEO, Frontier Lithium