Way forward for lithium mining in Canada | Opinion


This week there was, on the floor not less than, an thrilling information report by CTV {that a} Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Authorities of Canada and Mercedes Benz in addition to Volkswagen to “safe entry to Canadian uncooked supplies for batteries in electrical autos.” 

As a Member of Parliament with energetic mining operations in my using, I can state firsthand on the numerous significance of well-paying jobs in addition to the appreciable spin-off financial advantages not simply to the local people however your complete area.

It’s also value noting that, whereas Canada at the moment doesn’t have an energetic lithium mining and processing trade, we’re ranked quantity 6 for having the world’s largest lithium reserves behind international locations corresponding to Chile, Australia, Argentina, China and america. 

For these of you unfamiliar with lithium, it’s a extremely reactive steel that’s utilized in rechargeable batteries for electrical autos and different digital merchandise corresponding to laptops and cellphones, in addition to a rising listing of different client items.

Because the world more and more depends on electric-battery powered autos and gadgets, this may end in elevated lithium demand.

With this announcement I even have some issues. 

As many within the mining trade will know, again in 2014, Ottawa rejected the New Prosperity Mine that may have been positioned west of Williams Lake.

In August of 2021 Ottawa once more rejected one other mine, the proposed “Grassy Mountain” mine, that may have been positioned in the southwest of Alberta.

Each rejections occurred beneath totally different federal governments, however for a similar motive, as a consequence of potential antagonistic impacts on the native setting.

Because the Trudeau Liberal authorities has come to energy, they’ve additionally expanded the scope of impression evaluation to incorporate issues corresponding to “Gender-based Evaluation Plus” to the scope of standards that have to be met. 

For some context there’s a 16-page federal doc to elucidate how this impression evaluation course of is meant to operate.

Except for most of these regulatory necessities and environmental issues, proponents should additionally seek the advice of with native Indigenous communities.

Nonetheless, if a neighborhood Indigenous group is strongly in help of a undertaking, Ottawa should still reject the proposal for different causes.

On a associated notice, a current C.D. Howe Institute Report discovered that “enterprise funding in Canada is about half what it’s in america and is decrease than in different OECD nations.” 

One of many said causes for our declining funding and productiveness is expounded to “regulatory uncertainty” right here in Canada.

There’s a rising listing of tasks which were cancelled in Canada, not only for environmental causes, but in addition for political causes. 

I point out this as a result of if there may be to be a sudden “increase” in new lithium mines, it raises the query the place does the federal

authorities want these mines are positioned?

There’s additionally the query of water use, because it has been reported that the manufacturing of lithium by way of evaporation ponds makes use of a number of water. Roughly 2.2 million litres of water is required to supply one ton of lithium.

Throughout the 2019 election the Trudeau Authorities had promised to create a brand new water regulator and has been dropping hints that it is going to be continuing with such an company.

It isn’t recognized whether or not its mandate will inevitably battle and act as one other potential hurdle for brand spanking new mines to


Likewise, given the uncertainty of our present regulatory course of, what adjustments is the federal authorities ready to make that can speed up the approval course of of latest lithium mines?

At the moment the Trudeau Liberal authorities has been silent on these particulars.

My query this week: What are your ideas on the way forward for lithium mining right here in Canada?

Dan Albas is the member of Parliament for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola. Electronic mail: Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca. Telephone: 1-800-665-8711.


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