Precious Metals and Canada

Commentary, Environment, Clinton Desveaux

The land of ice hockey, curling, maple syrup and Celine Dion is a nation overflowing with precious metals from coast to coast. 

Canadian provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan, known for their oil sands operations, have an abundance of lithium. Why is this important? Well, the impending global electric vehicle (EV) tsunami is about to cause major disruption to nations not paying attention. The innovation happening in the world of technology and transportation is something that nations like Canada can take advantage of.

EV Market Share Adoption Data Chart

And let’s be honest, neither the federal Canadian or American governments, the various state and provincial governments, nor any wanna-be politicians are paying attention. The truth is, oil sands operations are basically mining operations. Alberta and Saskatchewan are two Prairie Provinces with an important commodity like lithium that the world desperately needs and in many cases, that lithium is found at various oilsands operations.

Provinces like Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario all have significant nickel deposits. Canada’s North has large gold deposits and so on. 

Precious metals and Canada are an important news story, job creator and economic driver. 

If we examine what is happening, we have seen electric vehicle technology that was partly designed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, like the Tesla 4680 Dry-Cell which went on sale during the first quarter of 2021. It has an impressive range of 837 km to a single charge, charging times of 15 minutes and a lifespan of 3.5 million kilometres. The pace of disruption and innovation is going to get much faster and the market demand is going to escalate very quickly.

So what should Canada do? We need to execute a three-point plan in order to ensure Canadians are in a position to benefit from this market disruption and innovation:

1) Canada needs to ensure that naval shipping ports in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia are able to operate without blockades. Canada also needs to ensure that rail transportation corridors connecting east and west are able to operate without demonstrations shutting down these vital links. Canadians should also understand that existing rail links in places like northern Manitoba and Atlantic Canada need significant upgrades in many cases.

2) The federal government needs to meet with all provincial and territorial counterparts. The country needs a single set of rules and regulations that are evenly applied across the nation. Costs need to be competitive and consistent on a global scale.

3) Canada and the provincial governments need to put together a real marketing plan pointing out we are a nation that respects the rule of law, legal contracts, human rights and the ease and benefits of doing business in Canada. It also needs to communicate point one and two noted above. That means attending international precious metals trade shows and international automotive shows and putting together a round of international media.

Can Canada supply increasing EV global demand or will it miss the disruption?

Clinton Desveaux writes on EV and disruption issues. He lives in Halifax.

Photo by Oleksandr Kurchev on Unsplash.