Many products and specialized technologies require critical minerals as raw materials, including nickel, copper, or cobalt. However, if a critical mineral isn’t available, there aren’t many alternative minerals that can replace them. To prevent future shortages, a five-year plan, including government funding support programs, was launched in March 2022 by the Ontario government to position the province as a global leader in critical minerals supply.
The Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) will provide up to 50% of eligible project costs, up to $500,000 per project, to support the research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies and solutions for critical minerals.
The CMIF will support Ontario’s strategy to improve and protect the critical minerals supply by supporting Ontario-based innovation via research and development projects.
Ontario’s minerals are used in key industries that include auto manufacturing, telecommunications, and national defense. Approximately $3.1 billion of critical minerals were produced in Ontario in 2021, accounting for 20 percent of Canada’s total mineral production.
“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. 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.”
– Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
About the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF)
Through projects funded via the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF), Ontario aims to explore, mine, smelt, and process more critical minerals. Using the fund, the government’s goal is to drive the commercialization of technologies to extract and process critical minerals by promoting collaboration between industry, academia, and start-ups.
“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. 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.”
– George Pirie, Minister of Mines
Amount of Funding
The CMIF will provide a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs, up to $500,000 per project, for projects that:
- Support the research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies, techniques, processes, and solutions for critical minerals;
- Increase critical minerals exploration, mining, development, production, and processing;
- Stimulate investment in Ontario’s critical minerals supply chain; and
- Enhance collaboration between industry, academia, start-ups, and research and development firms to encourage innovation in the critical minerals sector.
To be eligible for funding, your business must meet all the following requirements. To assess if your business and project is eligible for CMIF funding, please contact the Mentor Works team of government funding specialists.
1. Your business is either:
- A private-sector business; or
- A private sector business collaborating with a public sector academic or research institution, non-profit organization, or association. For projects involving collaboration between two or more entities, one entity must be the lead applicant and the funding recipient.
2. The project will take place in Ontario.
3. The project involves research, development and/or commercialization of innovative technologies, techniques, processes, or solutions that relate to one or more of the key priorities:
- Battery supply chain;
- Deep exploration and mining;
- Recovery of minerals; and/or
- Other innovative projects that support the critical minerals sector.
4. The project must not be receiving funding from any other Ontario government program.
Eligible research and development activities and associated costs can include, but are not limited to:
- Prototyping costs (for example, engineering and design services and component purchase, fabrication, materials, and installation costs);
- Product testing;
- Intellectual property protection costs;
- Research and development services provided by external companies;
- Contracted professional technical services or expertise;
- Costs related to technology transfer and commercialization; and/or
- Capital assets and equipment related to testing feasibility of innovative techniques and processes.
Eligible commercialization activities and associated costs include, but are not limited to:
- Building or renovation costs specifically related to the commercialization of the new technology;
- Prototype demonstration costs (for example, engineering and design services and equipment purchases, fabrication, materials, and installation costs);
- Costs associated with scaling a technology for a mine site or project;
- Product certification costs;
- Research and development services provided by external companies; and/or
- Capital assets and equipment related to commercialization of innovative techniques and processes.
Examples of ineligible costs include the following:
- Costs not directly associated with meeting the project milestones as specified in the funding agreement with the ministry;
- Any costs incurred before the program start date;
- Salaries and wages of individuals who are already receiving a salary or wage, or any other form of payment, from the applicant;
- Administration costs associated with regular business activities (for example, office supplies and equipment or staff benefits);
- Capital asset costs not specifically related to the commercialization of the new technology;
- Business development costs (for example, marketing and trade show costs); and
- Technology supplies not directly related to the new technology being developed.
How to Apply for Research and Development Funding
By conducting research and development (R&D), Canadian companies can achieve competitive advantages over their domestic and international competitors. To support these initiatives, the Canadian government offers funding to offset R&D costs and help companies stretch their research budgets.
Learn about available grant and loan programs for R&D projects by browsing our Research & Development Funding Directory. Connect with our team of professionals to learn more about whether your business could qualify for government funding to help with innovation and economic growth.