Canada’s Mineral Sector: Investments and Indigenous Partnerships

According to the Canadian Federal Budget 2024, a net-zero economy is a high priority for the federal government. Even at the provincial level, all budgets stated a strong focus on sustainability and clean energy. Investing in Canada’s minerals sector industry is an important activity for Canadian businesses and governments alike, now more than ever.

In a dynamic month filled with groundbreaking developments, Canada’s mineral exploration and mining sectors have reached new heights, bolstered by strategic government investments and collaborative partnerships. In this blog, we will delve into the pivotal advancements shaping Canada’s critical minerals landscape.

“Canada has an abundance of the minerals needed to build our net-zero economy. Supporting exploration efforts to find mineral deposits is a key part of creating the next generation of good-paying mining jobs across the country, including in northern and remote communities. Our economic plan is investing in good opportunities for workers and the supports businesses need to grow, to build an economy that works for everyone.”

– The Honorable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

A Federal Push for Mineral Exploration in Canada

The federal government has announced the extension of the 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for investors in flow-through shares until March 31, 2025. Originally planned to end on March 31, 2024, this tax credit plays a pivotal role in bolstering junior mineral exploration companies, fostering job creation, and stimulating economic growth. The extension is anticipated to inject $65 million into mineral exploration investment.

Discussing the Critical Minerals Sector at PDAC 2024

The Honorable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, alongside Marc G. Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, actively participated in PDAC 2024, reaffirming Canada’s prominence as a preferred global supplier of critical minerals and clean energy technologies. Minister Wilkinson engaged with industry leaders and Indigenous representatives, sharing updates on Canada’s $3.8-billion Critical Minerals Strategy and addressing sustainable development challenges in the mineral sector. Notable investments announced during the event include:

  • Over $4.49 million to Magneto Investments Limited Partnership under the Critical Minerals Research, Development, and Demonstration Program.
  • Over $10.4 million allocated for seven critical minerals-focused mining projects under the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships program.
  • Launch of the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund Indigenous Grant, offering up to $13.5 million in funding until March 31, 2030, with an initial $3.5 million available for the first call for proposals.
  • A $1.95 million investment under the Global Partnerships Initiative to enhance mineral-rich countries’ capacity for climate-smart mineral extraction, processing, and recycling.

Canada Announces Over $15 Million to Support Canadian Mining Sector

During the 2024 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, Minister Wilkinson unveiled federal investments exceeding $15 million to fortify Indigenous participation and bolster Canada’s critical minerals sector. Noteworthy announcements include:

  • Launch of the first call for proposals for Indigenous grants under the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF), providing up to $3.5 million for clean energy and transportation projects fostering critical minerals development.
  • Funding for seven mining projects valued at over $10.4 million under the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) program, aimed at empowering Indigenous communities and advancing sustainable resource development initiatives.

Government of Canada Announces Funding to Support Job Creation in the Northwest Territories

Minister Wilkinson unveiled a $714,500 investment in Fortune Minerals Limited, dedicated towards amplifying cobalt sulphate and bismuth ingot production. This initiative aims to optimize processing conditions, ensure stable residue disposal, and foster job creation, including opportunities for Indigenous communities. Funded through the Critical Minerals Research, Development, and Demonstration program, this investment aligns with Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle value chain development efforts.

Learn about Canada’s Zero-Emission efforts in our latest Canadian Federal Budget 2024 blog.

Rare Earth Elements in Saskatchewan

Minister Dan Vandal announced a $6 million funding allocation to the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) for its Rare Earth Processing Facility. This investment supports the development and commercialization of a process to separate unrecovered rare earth oxides from radioactive monazite tailings, yielding sufficient rare earths to manufacture up to 65,000 electric vehicles annually. Additionally, funding will aid in the development of an automated metal smelting process to produce commercial-grade rare earth element metals. This initiative, facilitated through PrairiesCan, aims to bolster economic development and diversification, contributing to a robust Prairies economy.

Did you know Canada is working to become a leader in the Electric Vehicle (EV) space? There are many available government grant programs to help support your automotive company to become cleaner and greener. Read our blog on the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) to learn how your business can access funding today.

$809K to Support Mining Innovation in North Bay

MP Anthony Rota announced an $809,000 investment for Nexco Inc. to advance new mining explosives technology, promoting innovation and productivity in the mining sector. This investment, facilitated through FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, aims to develop water-resistant ammonium nitrate particles, enhancing safety and efficiency in mining operations.

Promoting Careers in the Mining Industry

The Government of Saskatchewan is collaborating with the Saskatchewan Mining Association to educate students about mining and exploration careers. This $100,000 investment will support the development of classroom and online resources highlighting career opportunities in the mining industry, including critical minerals, potash, and uranium. By fostering public awareness and understanding of the mining sector’s technological innovation and sustainable practices, this initiative aims to promote diverse career pathways and bolster economic growth.

Explore our Top Hiring & Training Funding Programs in 2024 to learn about ways to onboard new staff or train existing staff.

Increased Investments Strengthen Saskatchewan’s Mining and Energy Sectors

Saskatchewan’s 2024-25 Budget reinforces support for the province’s natural resource industries through strategic investments in geoscience, oil and gas, and critical minerals. Notable budget allocations include:

  • $10 million over 10 years for the Public Geoscience Initiative, augmenting exploration efforts to advance Saskatchewan’s Critical Minerals Strategy.
  • Extension of the Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive and creation of the Critical Mineral Processing Investment Incentive, with an additional $130 million in funding.
  • Extension of the Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive and establishment of the Saskatchewan Critical Minerals Innovation Incentive, with an additional $70 million in funding.

Ontario Strengthening Mining Industry in Northern Ontario

The Ontario government, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), is investing over $3.7 million in 11 mining supply and service sector companies in Northern Ontario. This funding supports innovation, workplace safety, business development, and job creation within the mining industry. Key projects include expansion initiatives, facility modernization, and equipment acquisition, aimed at enhancing productivity and promoting economic growth.

$270 Million to Support New Innovations and Discoveries

Ontario’s government is allocating over $270 million to research projects across the province, administered through the Ontario Research Fund and the Early Researcher Awards. This funding facilitates research operations, infrastructure development, and talent attraction, supporting the advancement of innovative products and technologies. Notable projects include research initiatives focusing on critical minerals strategy, environmental impact mitigation, and renewable energy development.

First Nations and Ontario: Building All-Season Roads in the Ring of Fire

Ontario, Marten Falls First Nation, and Webequie First Nation have inked an agreement to develop community infrastructure projects, including all-season roads to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire region. This Community Development Agreement commits the province to support shovel-ready infrastructure projects, fostering economic development and capacity building within Indigenous communities. These initiatives will enhance regional connectivity, facilitating economic opportunities and sustainable development.

New Technology Reduces Mining’s Environmental Impact in BC

British Columbia is pioneering advanced chemical processes to extract critical minerals with minimal environmental impact, facilitating the province’s transition to a low-carbon economy. PH7 Technologies’ proprietary closed-loop process enables efficient metal extraction from low-grade resources, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption. With support from the Innovative Clean Energy Fund, PH7 will conduct a pilot project to demonstrate the scalability and environmental benefits of its innovative approach.

Mineral Tenure Act Reform

British Columbia is progressing with the reform of the Mineral Tenure Act (MTA), aligning with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This reform emphasizes cooperation and consultation with First Nations, industry stakeholders, and interested parties. Key initiatives include:

  • Engagement with all First Nations rights and title holders.
  • Establishment of a First Nations technical advisory group.
  • Implementation of a distinctions-based consultation and cooperation process with First Nations.

Protecting Indigenous Mineral Interests in BC

British Columbia has implemented interim measures to safeguard mineral claim registrations and mining activities in Gitxaała Nation and Ehattesaht First Nation territories amid ongoing Mineral Tenure Act reform. This initiative follows a B.C. Supreme Court ruling and underscores the province’s commitment to upholding Indigenous rights and fostering responsible resource development.

Government Grants for the Canadian Minerals Sector

If your company is in the critical minerals industry, Mentor Works, a Ryan Company is here to support you through the wide range of Canadian critical mineral funding opportunities available such as the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) which presents a unique opportunity for Canadian businesses to strengthen their operations, exhibit their leadership as strategic partners in the global critical minerals market, and successfully secure a sustainable economic future.

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