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Trudeau government doing spadework on minerals crucial to economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump, not shown, at Winfield House in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is digging for reliable intelligence on the role Canada’s mining sector could play in providing the United States and other key trading partners with crucial minerals and metals — from cobalt to tellurium — considered building blocks of the new economy.

Natural Resources Canada plans to hire a British firm to provide pricing forecasts and analysis of global supply and demand between 2020 to 2030 for about two dozen vital minerals used in products like solar cells, permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries.

The move comes as Canada works on a joint plan with the United States to ensure reliable access to these minerals and foster future competitiveness of the U.S. and Canadian mining industries.

The effort flows from a commitment last June by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump to develop reliable supplies of so-called critical minerals in the face of China’s dominance in much of the field.

In early October, Cynthia Kierscht, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, hosted Shawn Tupper, associate deputy minister of Natural Resources Canada, at the first critical minerals working group meeting in Washington.

The group will continue talks in coming months to finalize the joint plan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.

The Canadian Press