Critical minerals production ideas wanted

NRCan putting up $11 million for pilot projects for critical minerals processing

Canada has many of the critical minerals needed for the energy transition, like cobalt, but needs to developing its refining capacity. | Shutterstock

Extracting rare earths, cobalt, nickel or lithium is one thing – processing, refining, smelting and recycling those critical metals and minerals is a whole other business, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is putting up $11 million for new proposals.

As part of its Critical Minerals Strategy, NRCan has put out a call for proposals of Canadian pilot projects for the processing part of the critical minerals value chain.

It’s a tight deadline, however. Submissions for funding must be in by June 17.

The funding is part of the $48 million earmarked in the 2021 federal budget research and development of critical battery mineral processing and refining.

“Many critical mineral projects have unique technological and processing challenges that can hinder economically efficient production,” NRCan says in a press release.

“For example, extraction technologies for most critical minerals used in clean energy technologies tend to be site-specific. Additionally, mineral extraction must be tailored to each deposit based on its mineralogy, requiring a mineral development strategy that is capital intensive and time consuming.”

The call for proposals is open to Canadian universities, mining companies and provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments. For more information on applying for funding ,visit NRCan’s Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration Program.