Ottawa's critical mineral strategy calls for faster project approvals


By David Thurton, CBC News

Canada will need to speed up regulatory decisions on critical mineral projects if it wants to become a global leader in battery manufacturing, electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels, says a new national strategy released today.

"Simply put, there is no green energy transition without critical minerals," Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said as he unveiled the strategy in Vancouver on Friday.

"[The government of Canada] recognizes that to meet our ambitious climate and economic objectives to transition to a net-zero economy, additional mechanisms must be in place to expedite and facilitate strategic critical mineral projects from investment and funding opportunities, through regulatory approvals and development, to production."


Strategy 'sets off a lot of alarm bells'

Wilkinson said that while regulatory agencies need to streamline their processes, his department will set up a concierge service to help project proponents navigate the review process.

The minister said the department will expedite things without "cutting corners." 

But Mining Watch, an environmental and human rights advocacy advocate, isn't convinced. Jamie Kneen, the group's program co-lead, said federal regulations have been undermined over time and now exempt some projects from federal assessments.

"It sets off a lot of alarm bells," Kneen said.


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