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Canada will spend some $1.6 billion (C$2 billion) on building a battery mineral supply chain, Reuters has reported, citing two sources from the federal government in Ottawa.
Nickel, lithium, cobalt, and magnesium will be at the heart of the plan, which would involve a boost in both production and processing of these metals and minerals, the sources said.
The plan, likely to be unveiled with this year's budget on Thursday, is the latest signal that North American economies are waking up to the crucial nature of the mineral supply issue for the energy transition. The United States and Canada both have very ambitious transition goals that feature EVs heavily, but until recently, considerations about the security of battery mineral supply appeared to be secondary.
Even as they take center stage, however, challenges remain. As a Reuters analysis from December last year points out, the Biden administration and the Trudeau government are both very much in favor of EVs and are offering generous incentives to carmakers to make EVs and convince people to buy them. They have, however, fallen short at the start of the supply chain: mining.
PolyMet's Minnesota copper-nickel mine woes are a case in point. In Canada, such a case is Bill C-69, which, according to this Mining.com article, "broadens the scope of the assessment process and adds more consultation with the public and particularly indigenous groups" for new mining projects.
Yet, at the same time, the government in Ottawa seems to be aware of the importance of mining for the advancement of its EV plans.
"There are some particular projects that we are looking at and working on at the present time," said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson recently, adding that all projects, "whether they're extraction or processing, need to be accelerated significantly, and that's what the critical mineral strategy will be about."
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.