Worldwide corporations see alternative in Canada’s essential minerals assets

World mining and superior chemical companies are rising their funding in Canada, which implies new jobs and an accelerated transition to sustainability for Canadians

Worldwide corporations see alternative in Canada’s essential minerals assets

When Livent determined to extend its funding in Nemaska Lithium Inc. in Quebec, its management was signaling its confidence in Canada’s lithium {industry} and eager about the chances associated to additional supporting Canada’s electrical automobile (EV) ecosystem.

Philadelphia-based Livent, which produces lithium from websites in Argentina and has crops in the US, England, Argentina and Asia, bolstered its dedication to the Montreal-based firm in 2022 when it introduced it was doubling its possession curiosity in Nemaska to 50 per cent. Lithium is crucial in producing EV batteries and Nemaska Lithium is anticipated to have a manufacturing capability of 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide a yr, with first manufacturing deliberate for 2026.

“Nemaska and the province of Quebec are constructing an built-in battery provide chain, and that’s one thing we’re very supportive of,” says Sarah Maryssael, Livent’s chief technique officer, including EVs are the automobiles of the long run and world economies will more and more depend on lithium. “We need to be a associate and assist them execute on that imaginative and prescient.”

Canada has an extended historical past of mining and minerals processing. A lot of the nation’s diamonds are mined within the Northwest Territories, whereas Ontario and Quebec lead the nation in gold manufacturing. Saskatchewan produces all of Canada’s uranium and has world-class potash reserves. British Columbia is distinguished in copper and in steelmaking coal manufacturing. Nova Scotia has a thriving salt {industry}, most of which is used for de-icing, however some can be reworked into food-grade merchandise, together with desk salt. And Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec produce nearly all of Canada’s iron ore. The {industry} contributed $67.5 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2020 and instantly employs 337,000 folks, with one other 315,000 employed in ancillary roles. This historical past and experience are significantly interesting to overseas direct funding (FDI), which advantages Canadians on the lookout for jobs on this booming {industry}.

“There’s a very expert labour pressure right here,” Maryssael says. “Globally, there’s a scarcity of younger folks going into these careers. Nonetheless, Canada has a really robust pipeline of expertise, which is able to actually assist in turning into a world hub for essential minerals within the vitality transition.”

In fact, Canada’s essential minerals assets are engaging to a variety of worldwide corporations. All over the world, companies are prioritizing lower-carbon initiatives to assist meet industry-wide environmental objectives and decrease carbon emissions, and Canada is seen as a pacesetter resulting from its provide of essential minerals comparable to nickel, potash, aluminum, and uranium. These helpful assets are utilized in on a regular basis gadgets like laptops and stainless-steel home equipment, but additionally crucially aligned with constructing a greener financial system. For instance, wind generators want manganese, platinum and uncommon earth magnets, and photo voltaic panels depend on indium and tellurium as key manufacturing supplies.

Alcoa, a Pittsburgh-based producer of aluminum, has lengthy invested in Canada. Louis Langlois, senior vice-president and treasurer, says the corporate has about 2,500 workers in Quebec and contributes greater than $1.8 billion to the native financial system. Langlois says Alcoa has operations in Quebec as a result of Canada has the power to supply long-term entry to scrub vitality and holds an esteemed aluminum manufacturing ecosystem — suppliers, gear and producers — that make it a key participant within the world {industry}.

“Extra nations wish to diversify their provide sources for essential minerals and purchase aluminium with a diminished carbon footprint, and Canada could be very nicely positioned to be a provider for that steel,” Langlois says, including the nation has commerce agreements with all different G7 nations.

Like Livent, Alcoa is dedicated to its Canadian operations. It’s engaged in ELYSIS, a three way partnership working to scale up a carbon-free smelting know-how which Alcoa first developed at its analysis and improvement (R&D) middle. The corporate additionally works with Laval College on R&D initiatives in addition to different companions to develop a various workforce. “Canada has the power to have a fair larger position within the world aluminium {industry},” Langlois says.

Sustainability is one other vital draw for overseas corporations. The nation’s environmental, social and company governance (ESG) provides Canada a aggressive benefit over many different nations, says Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Affiliation of Canada (MAC). “Our abundance of fresh energy means our minerals and metals emit a number of the lowest carbon on this planet.” All corporations working on this house should observe a MAC-developed and -implemented ESG program, In the direction of Sustainable Mining, which prioritizes Indigenous engagement, biodiversity safety and local weather change. It ought to come as no coincidence that at PDAC 2023, the Prospectors & Builders Affiliation of Canada’s annual convention March 5-8 in Toronto, environmental and social accountability are key conversations.

These practices are vital on the subject of constructing relationships with totally different Indigenous teams. Essential-mineral-rich areas are unfold throughout the nation — together with in distant Indigenous communities — making it important to work in partnership with native peoples to domesticate significant session and engagement in mining initiatives. “Indigenous rights are constitutionally revered and more and more embedded in authorized frameworks,” Graton says.

Livent’s Maryssael says that not solely are nations and companies eager about their carbon footprints and social duties, however shoppers are too, including they need to know the merchandise they use are as sustainable as potential.

“Canada, with its robust mining code and in depth historical past in mining, actually supplies these ensures to shoppers,” she continues. “Minerals which can be produced in Canada are executed in line with very excessive requirements.”

And this isn’t simply good for expert Canadian employees, who will profit from FDI-created job alternatives for generations to return. It’s additionally good for all Canadians, who profit when the mining {industry} makes sustainability its focus.

Promoting function produced by Globe Content material Studio with Spend money on Canada. The Globe’s editorial division was not concerned.