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Canada Sets Sights on Supplying Strategic Metals for EVs

With the European Union committing to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 55% by 2030, Canada may have an opportunity to export strategic metals like nickel and cobalt that are essential parts of the supply chain for electric vehicles, sustainability author Chris Turner wrote last week for Corporate Knights.

“With nickel as a preferred metal to power the clean energy revolution, our commitment to net-zero carbon production is the right step to take for the environment, for consumers, and for our investors,” said Mark Selby, CEO of Canada Nickel, which launched its NetZero Metals initiative in July.

While this week’s Speech from the Throne included a reference to building up Canada’s capacity as a supplier of critical EV components like nickel and copper, “you have to assume [Selby] was looking past Ottawa and not even glancing in Washington’s direction” when he made his announcement, Turner writes. “Canada Nickel’s bet is that the EU’s green-saturated recovery is the future of the global economy and the best target for even an established heavy industry like mining.”

That bet is just as important for the wider Canadian economy, as global markets rapidly shift in the direction of a green recovery. “If Canada’s heavy industries want to steer clear of a rust belt scenario, they need to move now to where this century’s best economic opportunities are emerging,” Turner writes. “And those are increasingly found in the fast-growing cleantech sector.”

“The race for clean materials is certainly one that Canada could play a role in and could be important for Canada,” said Clean Energy Canada Policy Director Sarah Petrevan, adding that Ottawa will also have to bring its carbon reduction targets up to the threshold Europe has now established.

“The EU is the gold standard by which Canada should be judged,” she told Turner.