THUNDER BAY, Ont.- Ontario is releasing a critical minerals strategy seeking to attract more investment and mining to the resource-rich province.
The minerals are used in smartphones, batteries for electric vehicles and solar panels.
Ontario already produces $3.5 billion a year in critical minerals, but Greg Rickford, minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry says with much of the world’s supply concentrated in a few countries, global conflict has exposed supply vulnerabilities and there is a great opportunity for Ontario.
The strategy aims to support exploration, boost domestic processing and create local supply chains, reduce regulatory burdens, and build economic development opportunities with Indigenous communities.
Premier Doug Ford has spoken recently of wanting to capitalize on the province’s critical minerals to attract an electric vehicle battery plant to Ontario and says the strategy is a blueprint to connect resources and industry in the north to manufacturing in the south.
The province is investing $24 million over three years in Ontario’s Junior Exploration Program, including $12 million for a critical minerals stream, and $5 million over two years in a new critical minerals innovation fund.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2022.