Canada adds high-purity iron, phosphorus, silicon metal to critical minerals list

First Phosphate estimates 425,000 tonnes of annual phosphate concentrate production at its Lac à l’Orignal project near Saguenay, Que. Credit: First Phosphate

Natural Resources Canada announced Monday it has updated the country’s critical minerals list, with three new additions.  

First released in 2021, the 2024 critical minerals list was updated in consultation with provinces and territories; exploration, mining and manufacturing industries and associations; and Indigenous organizations and communities, Natural Resources Canada said in a media release.

New to the list are high-purity iron — used in green steel making and decarbonization; phosphorus — essential for batteries and food security, and silicon metal — required for semiconductors and computer chips.

In March, Canadian explorer First Phosphate (CSE: PHOS) received a mining research and innovation grant from the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The company’s objective is to see the development of a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery valley in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, one which can service demand for LFP battery cathode active material across North America.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, said the list was reviewed and updated following “substantial consultations to focus efforts in developing robust critical minerals value chains.”

“By updating Canada’s critical minerals list, we are taking a proactive step to ensure that Canada’s efforts to seize the generational economic opportunity presented by our critical minerals wealth is well informed by the most accurate market trends, geopolitical factors and science,” Wilkinson said.

“Investments in critical minerals projects create good jobs for workers, more avenues for Canadian innovation and lower emissions across the country — all of which form an important part of our plan to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy.”

Canada’s critical minerals list now identifies 34 minerals and metals deemed essential to the country’s economic or national security.

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