Province’s First-Ever Critical Minerals Strategy Positions Ontario as Global Leader
THUNDER BAY – As innovation and technology drive dramatic changes to the world’s economy, Ontario is positioning itself to be a global leader in supplying the critical minerals that will fuel that change with the release of its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy.
“The Critical Minerals Strategy is our government’s blueprint to connect industries, resources and workers in our province’s north to the future of manufacturing in the south as we build up home-grown supply chains,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Doing so has never been more important as we secure game-changing investments in our auto sector to build the electric vehicles and batteries of the future using Ontario minerals.”
Ontario’s supply of critical minerals, processing capabilities and proximity to North American manufacturing hubs makes the province an ideal place for mineral exploration and investment. The Critical Minerals Strategy is a five year roadmap to: better connect the mines in the north with the manufacturing sector in the south, in particular to Ontario-based electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing; tap into new and growing markets, including electric vehicles, batteries, telecommunications and national defence; and secure Ontario’s place in the global supply chain for decades to come.
The strategy focuses on six priorities:
Enhancing geoscience information and supporting critical minerals exploration
Growing domestic processing and creating resilient local supply chains
Improving the regulatory framework to make the mining industry more globally competitive
Investing in innovation, research and development
Building economic development opportunities with Indigenous partners
Growing labour supply and developing a skilled labour force
To ensure companies have the tools they need to find the mines of the future, the province is investing $24 million over three years in Ontario’s Junior Exploration Program, which includes $12 million for a critical minerals funding stream. The province is also investing $5 million over two years in a new critical minerals innovation fund that will support research for extraction and processing in the north.
“We believe there is an incredible opportunity to connect our northern and southern economies to build a made-in-Ontario supply chain for emerging technologies such as EVs,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our government is building an advanced manufacturing supply chain that will create economic opportunities for Ontarians across the province, including Indigenous communities. We want the world to know that Ontario is ready to supply our allies with a reliable source of critical minerals.”
Geopolitical forces are fueling a surging demand for reliable sources of critical minerals in international and North American markets. Ontario’s world-class environmental, social and governance standards make it the perfect destination for environmentally responsible investors. Ontario is ready to benefit from the global shift to a cleaner economy.
“Ontario has what it takes to develop and build the car of the future through emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing processes,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through our Driving Prosperity plan and our first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy, our government is staking Ontario's claim to the emerging North American EV battery industry and positioning the province to leverage its critical mineral wealth.”
Critical minerals have a variety of strategic uses, including smartphones, batteries for EVs, pharmaceuticals and solar cells. The Critical Minerals Strategy will strengthen Ontario’s supply chains, attract new investment in the mining and manufacturing sectors and build economic development opportunities for Indigenous partners.
The Critical Minerals Strategy is a comprehensive, five-year roadmap that complements other transformative government initiatives, such as Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector and A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan; combined, the initiatives will further drive economic prosperity across the province and create good paying jobs and opportunities in the mining sector.
In 2020, Ontario produced approximately $3.5 billion worth of critical minerals.
The mining sector accounts for approximately 75,000 jobs in Ontario and mining is recognized as having one of the highest proportions of Indigenous workers of all industries in the province, at 11 per cent.
Ontario’s critical minerals list has identified 33 critical minerals including nickel, cobalt, lithium, platinum group elements and rare earth elements.
"We applaud the government’s Critical Mineral Framework as it recognizes the significant mining potential of Northwestern Ontario and it will strengthen Ontario’s competitiveness in the global markets. Our Lac des Iles Mine is one of only two known palladium deposits in North America and delivers 30 per cent of all palladium produced in Canada. Palladium has critical industrial, technological, and strategic applications and, as a key component required for pollution control of gasoline-powered vehicles, is instrumental to our transition toward a low carbon economy. Access to resources is a strategic priority in today’s world. Investors, customers, consumers and communities are now standing up and increasingly demanding ethically-sourced and environmentally-responsible mining. That is what we are proud to deliver here at the Lac des Iles Mine and indeed across the industry in Ontario."
- Tim Hill CEO of Impala Canada
"The Critical Minerals Strategy will position Ontario to leverage its unique geology, processing capacity, and world-class mining supply and services sector. Ontario’s metals and minerals are essential for low-carbon technologies and to the green economy, with future demand accelerating while governments worldwide pursue faster innovation. This framework will localize the supply chain and reduce geopolitical risk for Ontario while responding to increasing market demand, contributing to the local economy, and providing well-paying jobs, particularly in Northern and Indigenous communities."
- Chris Hodgson President of the Ontario Mining Association
"We are delighted to see the release on Ontario’s critical minerals strategy, which clearly articulates 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 and proximity to markets. We have chosen to build a Battery Materials Park in Ontario because of these strategic advantages, and we applaud the government for their foresight in releasing the critical minerals strategy."
- Trent Mell President and CEO of Electra Battery Materials
"The Critical Minerals Strategy will result in greater collaboration on resource development projects which can advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities and peoples. Critical minerals represent a new opportunity for Ontario and Indigenous partners to work together, and I am excited to see where the strategy takes the province’s mining sector."
- Michael Fox President of Indigenous Community Engagement
"The announcement of the creation of Ontario’s first ever critical minerals strategy is welcome news to the explorers of the province and will assist explorers in targeting needed minerals."
- Garry Clark Executive Director of the Ontario Prospectors Association
Critical Mineral Strategy
Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Auto Sector