The UK and Canadian governments today unveiled a co-operation agreement on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium, vital to modern and green technologies, from solar panels to electric vehicles.
The agreement was signed at the 2023 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention by UK Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani MP and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson. During her five-day visit to Canada, Minister Ghani will also meet Canadian government counterparts to discuss critical minerals and attend the International Ministers Mines Summit and the closing of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Canada and the UK, who are long-term allies, are committing to work together on critical minerals research and make supply chains more resilient. The agreement aims to:
- Promote and build secure and integrated UK-Canada critical mineral supply chains, including through information-sharing, facilitating investment, and building commercial relationships between Canadian and UK industries, and sharing supply chain resilience analysis.
- Drive higher ESG performance across all elements of the critical minerals value chain, through government signalling, active promotion throughout our respective industries and close collaboration in multilateral fora.
- Leverage the existing strengths of the two countries to promote skill-sharing and R&D between UK and Canadian industry, academia, and governments, along with other close international allies to spur supply chain innovation.
This collaboration will build new linkages in upstream and midstream segments of critical mineral value chains, extending to downstream reuse and recycling” the Canadian and UK governments said in a joint statement.
Minister for Business and Trade, Nusrat Ghani MP, said: “Every single one of us depend on critical minerals to make the technology we use in our everyday lives. With a dash for minerals to meet national business needs, it is essential we work to build more resilient supply chains for critical minerals.
“Through this Dialogue, we will work with one of our closest global allies in Canada to build and strengthen our supply chains and boost innovation, securing jobs and growing the UK economy in the process.”
Canada is the UK’s 13th largest export partner, with UK companies last year exporting £14.1 billion worth of products to Canada. Canada represents a large opportunity for UK mining and engineering firms, with the country currently producing 60 minerals and metals at 200 mines and 6,500 quarries.
Demand for certain critical minerals is expected to rise by as much as 500% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agreement with Canada is part of the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy to secure supply chains for these minerals and therefore the UK’s position in the growing markets for green technologies, such as hydrogen production and nuclear energy, the Department of Business and Trade said.
“Canada and the United Kingdom have each released national Critical Minerals Strategies, and there is a strong case for us to work in concert to achieve our aims” the joint statement said. “Both countries are committed to ensuring critical minerals markets are diverse, resilient, guided by fair market practices and underpinned by the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, along with demonstrating respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights and local communities.”
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