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Canada bets on lithium and cobalt, but does not hold China’s infiltration –

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Immersed in wild nature Around the shore Great Slave Lake in northwestern CanadaIs an isolated subarctic community What are the first countries?, Just 492 people. Caribou, gray wolves and black bears roam here, and the roads are not always passable. Nearly 3,000 kilometers away, in the arid plains of Sparks, Nevada, Elon Musk completes Gigafactory 1, an industrial company that will produce enough batteries to power 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year.. The red thread that connects these two places is called the cobalt. It is the lesser known component of lithium-ion batteries that will power future clean and environmentally friendly cars. In the area around Whatì, there are actually tons of them … all to be exploited.

Cobalt and lithium are the new lords of energy and the hidden treasure of the “northwestern regions”. There are really massive underground reserves all over Canada. The first study of lithium in this remote part of Canada began in the 1970s, but the current increase in demand in global markets has pushed the liberal Justin Trudeau’s government to accelerate new mining projects. In these vast and often unexplored areas. In the latest federal budget launched in early April, the federal government proposed to provide support of up to CAD 3.8 billion (€ 2.7 billion) over eight years, to launch and implement a new strategy on so-called “critical minerals”. Distribution chain of electric vehicle (EV) batteries including nickel, lithium, cobalt and magnesium.

In Canada, new roads are being built to reach the Whatì territory: 97 kilometers of the Tlicho Highway, formerly a dirt road, was laid by North Star Infrastructure under a $ 400 million (28 years) contract signed with the government. Northwest Territories (Photo of British Columbia)

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There is also funding for green technologies

“Canada has vast deposits of precious minerals and with the right investments, This sector can create thousands of new jobs and grow our economy Make the country a vital component of the growing global industry’s important minerals, ”said Finance Minister Cynthia Freeland. The government has set up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in green technologies and is looking to attract companies involved at all levels of the electric vehicle supply chain, especially those committed to securing the future of the automotive sector in neighboring Ontario. Use.

500% growth potential on demand

The World Bank estimates that the demand for minerals for batteries, including lithium and cobalt, will increase by almost 500% by 2050. Currently Asia, especially China, dominates the global production and processing of important minerals, rare earths and rare metals used to make electric vehicles. Almost The Introduction to the new energy dependence of the West in an authoritarian country like Russia today About fossil fuels imported into Europe.

Security agreement with US and opening in Beijing

The alarm bells rang in Canada and beyond last January The Trudeau government has approved Chinese state investor Jijin Mining Group to acquire lithium mining company Neo Lithium Corp. (“Neo Lithium”) for approximately 960 million Canadian dollars (699 million euros). After two important developments, a result that surprised many analysts: Final in January 2020 Canada-US plan to protect supply chains for important minerals; And the updated March 2021 issue of the National Security Review Guidelines, highlighting key minerals, including lithium, as well as investments by state or foreign state actors as areas of primary concern to the Canadian government.

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Canadian government documents underscore that key minerals are at the heart of key global industries, including clean technology, healthcare, aerospace and information technology, and will be in high demand in the years to come.

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