Key Canadian minerals for electric transportation – Fact Sheet

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Canada aims for zero-emission vehicles to account for 30% of annual passenger vehicle sales by 2030.[NRCan] By 2030, the global battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle fleet should exceed 200 million, according to estimates.[IEA, Bloomberg] This transformation will require significant amounts of new materials.

There are key minerals that can help Canada gain major influence in EV supply chains:

Other relevant domestic materials with an increased demand include iron (steel), aluminum, and rare-earth elements (mainly neodymium and dysprosium).[RCR, AE] Depending on future EV technologies, important will be also sulfur, fluoride,[MT] and platinum metals.[RCR]

The criticality of minerals and demand from low-carbon technologies, especially EVs and energy storage, will put significant pressure on supply chains.[RCR, Nature]

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors will play an increasingly important role in mining.[ERS] Canada has built a favourable ESG profile in metal mining projects: [Nature]

In the next decades, Canada will face demand pressure for both its rich mineral resources and good ESG profile. Just to keep up with its current position within the EV supply chains, Canada may have to open dozens of new mines and refining facilities:

Electric transportation will partially transform Canadian mining, but important discussion and steps need to take place to avoid negative social and environmental impacts.

References

  • Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NRCan)
  • Global EV Outlook 2020 (IEA)
  • Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020 (BloombergNEF)
  • Critical metals for electromobility: Global demand scenarios for passenger vehicles, 2015–2050 (Habib et al. 2020; Resources, Conservation and Recycling )
  • The vulnerability of electric vehicle deployment to critical mineral supply (Ballinger et al. 2019; Applied Energy )
  • Battery materials for low-cost electric transportation (Turcheniuk et al. 2021; Materials Today )
  • Review of critical metal dynamics to 2050 for 48 elements (Watari et al. 2020; Resources, Conservation and Recycling )
  • The social and environmental complexities of extracting energy transition metals (Lèbre et al. 2020; Nature Communications )
  • Responsible or reckless? A critical review of the environmental and climate assessments of mineral supply chains (Lee et al. 2020; Environmental Research Letters )

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