Canada’s Role in Supplying Critical Minerals to the U.S. War Economy
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources said in its June 2021 report entitled From Mineral Exploration to Advanced Manufacturing Developing Value Chains for Critical Minerals in Canada that:
“Critical minerals are essential components of many new technologies, from low-greenhouse gas energy sources to electric vehicles to advances in cutting-edge sectors such as medicine, electronics, aerospace and defence.”
That same Committee underscored the importance of “securing a supply of critical minerals […] because access to these resources is not entirely stable and production is concentrated in a few countries, notably China.” It also said that “Canada could also pursue a “continental” approach to guarantee a supply of critical minerals in cooperation with the provinces and territories, as well as the United States.”
The same Committee made important key recommendations that are a call for more pay-the-rich schemes and the further integration of Canada into the “continental” U.S. war economy. Amongst those recommendations, we find the following first two:
That the Government of Canada work with the provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and governments, the mining industry and research and education institutions to develop a strategic vision for developing Canada’s critical minerals industry;
That the Government of Canada renew its support for the Canadian mining sector so that it can take advantage of the many opportunities offered by developing critical minerals and recognize their unique contribution to advanced technologies and the energy transition by:
– increasing its capacity to carry out geoscience work
– expanding the scope of financial and tax measures
– investing in transportation and communication infrastructure in remote and Northern regions.”
All of this is taken from the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership that the Biden administration and the Trudeau government agreed to on February 24, 2021, from which the Biden administration issued Executive Order 14017 on America’s Supply Chains that same day. Among other things, it states that:
“The Secretary of Defense (as the National Defense Stockpile Manager), in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies, shall submit a report identifying risks in the supply chain for critical minerals and other identified strategic materials, including rare earth elements (as determined by the Secretary of Defense), and policy recommendations to address these risks. The report shall also describe and update work done pursuant to Executive Order 13953 of September 30, 2020 (Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain From Reliance on Critical Minerals From Foreign Adversaries and Supporting the Domestic Mining and Processing Industries).”
In its 250-page follow-up report entitled Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth, 100-Day Reviews under Executive Order 14017, the White House writes on the issue of critical minerals:
“Given the importance of lithium batteries to the warfighter, assured sources of critical minerals and materials and both domestic and allied capability for lithium cell and battery manufacturing are critical to U.S. national security. The supply chain security of minerals, materials, cells, and battery components is of concern today.”
Quebec and Canadian provinces and territories already have many sites used for the extraction of critical minerals for the U.S. war industry such as nickel, cobalt, scandium, uranium, etc.
The Quebec, provincial and territorial governments, along with the federal government, are already bending over backwards to supply the mining oligopolies with the infrastructure and kinds of subsidies and tax breaks the private interests are demanding.