US, Canada team up to fund critical minerals junior Lomiko

Lomiko Metals’ La Loutre graphite project in Quebec. (Source: Lomiko Metals)

The United States and Canada are, for the first time, joining forces to support the development of critical mineral mines by Canadian companies as both governments step up efforts to reduce their reliance on Chinese supplies of energy transition minerals.

Graphite exploration firm Lomiko Metals (TSX: LMR) has been granted a combined $12 million —$3.6m from Ottawa and $8.4m from Washington — to advance its La Loutre graphite project in southeastern Quebec.

“To achieve these concurrent Canadian and American funding opportunities is a win for Quebec, Canada, and the United States as we approach a next phase of studies,” Lomiko’s chief executive Belinda Labatte said in the statement.

“It will help advance supply chain resilience and create job opportunities in Canada,” Labatte added. Lomiko’s mine is also expected to generate high-quality graphite for defense applications and the growing electric vehicle (EV) market in North America.

The other Canadian junior to receive a shot in the arm is Fortune Minerals (TSX: FT, which had already been granted funds, in December and March this year, to advance its longstanding NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories.

The Canadian contribution is part of a larger $2.8 billion (Cdn$3.8bn) fund for the critical minerals sector that was announced in the Canadian federal government’s 2023 budget. 

The US portion comes from the Department of Defense, acting under the Defense Production Act created by President Joe Biden in 2022.

The funding to both companies follows Washington’s decision earlier this week to slap major new tariffs on Chinese EVs, advanced batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminum and medical equipment.