SASKATOON — Canada and U.S. representatives met in Ottawa on Friday, March 3, to discuss initiatives to bolster bilateral critical mineral value chains. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce hosted the top-level meeting during Canada’s Critical Minerals Executive Summit.
Vital Metals Ltd. CEO and Managing Director John Dorward took centre stage with U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen. Both parties delved into the significance of cooperation in the critical minerals supply chain, from mining to mobility.
“Our goal is to build secure and socially responsible critical mineral supply chains among our friends and allies, none more so than the U.S., with whom Canada’s industrial, environmental, social and national security interests are deeply intertwined,” said Dorward.
Dorward noted Cohen's role in including incentives for Canadian electric vehicles and critical materials in recent US fiscal measures aimed at inflation reduction and defence production.
In his keynote address, Cohen zeroed in on climate change and energy security, with critical rare earth minerals having a bigger role in the two issues. Vital Metals is Canada’s first miner and producer of rare earth products and is the summit’s title sponsor.
“To achieve ambitious emission reductions, we must accelerate our transition to clean energy. And to do that, we need critical minerals. It’s as simple as that; a simple equation that I hope puts critical minerals in front of the American and Canadian public and elected officials in both of our countries,” said Cohen.
“We need to help each other make this possible – to drive demand for EVs, help fund critical mineral extraction, and move manufacturing, refining and mining back to North America in a responsible way."
He added the government must figure out how to provide incentives for the private sector to participate fully.
The two neighbouring nations finalized their Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration in 2020, which is aimed to secure supply chains for strategic manufacturing sectors, including electric vehicles, renewable energy, communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.
Canada released in November 2022 its framework to accelerate the development of 31 such minerals in Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy. Canada’s commitment to critical minerals was highlighted in January year when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Vital Metals’ rare earth minerals processing facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Canada already supplies many of the minerals deemed critical by the US. In 2020, the International Energy Agency valued bilateral mineral trade at $95.6 billion, with 298 Canadian mining companies and a combined $40 billion in Canadian mining assets in the US.