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Canadian govt invests C$10m in Ontario critical mineral projects

11th June 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Monday announced two investments of C$5-million each to support the critical minerals sector in Canada, specifically in northern Ontario.

The funding recipients are the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) and Electra Battery Materials (Electra).

The investment in MIRARCO aims to advance technologies for recovering battery metals such as nickel, cobalt and copper from mine tailings in the Greater Sudbury area. The project will focus on tailings from the Vale and Glencore mines, aiming to reduce the long-term social and environmental costs associated with mine waste. By improving the technological readiness of these recovery processes, MIRARCO seeks to unlock significant amounts of these critical metals, thereby directly contributing to the battery supply chain in Sudbury.

Electra will use its funding to advance the next phase of its battery materials recycling project. Located about five hours north of Toronto, Electra is constructing North America’s only battery-grade cobalt refinery. The funding will support the demonstration of Electra’s proprietary battery recycling technology on a continuous basis, building on the success of a 2023 batch process demonstration that processed over 40 t of end-of-life battery scrap.

Electra's project aims to demonstrate that its hydrometallurgical black mass process is scalable and profitable, potentially setting the stage for implementation at other locations. The initiative is expected to conserve resources, reduce waste, and minimise the environmental impact of battery production within North America's critical minerals sector.

“Today’s total investment of C$10-million to Electra and MIRARCO will help to advance the development of dynamic and competitive critical minerals value chains in Canada and Northern Ontario. This funding will increase mineral and energy security, create good jobs and support economic opportunities — supporting our work to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy that works for everyone,” said Wilkinson.

Electra CEO Trent Mell said the funding announcement was a clear signal from the government of Canada of its ongoing commitment to creating a strong, sustainable electric vehicle supply chain.

“While recycling critical minerals is part of our business strategy, we also remain focused on the construction of our cobalt sulphate refinery and look forward to updating the market with funding developments to restart construction."

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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