Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The province of Manitoba is a key source of minerals used to manufacture renewable energy and other clean technology components, and Wisconsin companies involved in the mining industry may find opportunities there.
Canada hopes to develop a full-scale plan for advancing clean technology through its vast mineral resources, and one province in particular—Manitoba—hopes to play a key role in those plans.
Canada’s 2022 federal budget calls for spending up to $3.8 billion CAD ($2.9 billion USD) over the next eight years to implement the country’s first Critical Mineral Strategy. The proposals include:
- $80 million CAD ($61.2 billion USD) for research to help find the next generation of critical mineral deposits
- Doubling the country’s mineral exploration tax credit for key minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, rare earth elements and uranium
- $1.5 billion CAD ($1.2 billion USD) for new infrastructure investments to unlock new mineral projects in critical regions
- $1.5 billion CAD ($1.2 billion USD) for new projects that focus on mineral processing, materials manufacturing, and recycling for key mineral and metal products in the battery and rare earth elements supply chain
Critical minerals are essential for renewable energy and clean technology applications—for example, for producing specialized batteries, solar panels and wind turbines—as well as for advanced manufacturing supply chains, electronics, agriculture, medical applications, automotive and parts manufacturing, and infrastructure. The global demand for critical minerals is growing, and Canada has an abundance of them, according to Natural Resources Canada.
In particular, the province of Manitoba expects to be a major source for the critical mineral supply chain. Mining produces more than $1 billion CAD ($800 million USD) worth of minerals a year in Manitoba. According to speakers at a recent presentation by the government of Manitoba and the U.S. Commercial Service, mining in Manitoba supplies 100% of Canada’s cesium, lithium and tantalum, and also produces metals such as nickel, copper, zinc and gold. These minerals and metals are considered vital components in clean technology manufacturing.
Some local companies already are gearing up for the anticipated surge in demand. Manitoba-based Snow Lake Resources is developing a green, all-electric mining and refining operation that will offer a secure, local supply of lithium hydroxide, while Hudbay Minerals, a producer of copper concentrate and zinc, has made significant investments in northern Manitoba.
In a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2021, President Joe Biden discussed a plan for U.S.-Canada partnership on a range of issues including supply chain cooperation for battery development and production, with an aim toward zero-emission vehicles and renewable battery storage.
Companies in Wisconsin with products or services for the mining industry might find opportunities in Canada—specifically, with businesses in Manitoba.