What are critical minerals
Critical minerals are minerals such as copper, lithium, and molybdenum that are essential components in products used for clean energy, digital technology, telecommunications, healthcare, and other applications. Critical minerals are used in the manufacture of electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, electrical transmission lines, batteries, mobile phones, and medical devices.
Critical minerals are increasingly woven into our everyday lives – some might say they are indispensable. British Columbia is committed to achieving its legislated climate goals, in alignment with the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, and to making the transition to lower carbon economies – but this transition cannot occur without critical minerals, which are required in the transportation, electrification, renewable energy generation and storage and technology sectors.
Common uses of critical minerals
Why do we need a critical minerals strategy?
Critical minerals serve essential purposes in our economy, and they may be at risk of supply disruption. Countries and regions have identified many different minerals as being of critical or strategic importance, depending on supply chain access, geography, and geopolitical circumstance, among other considerations. As demand shifts and technology evolves, the critical minerals list of any jurisdiction may change.
Mineral exploration and mining are foundational contributors to B.C.’s economy, particularly in rural and remote communities, and this contribution could grow substantially with expanded critical mineral development. In 2022, the sector contributed $17.5 billion in production value, $740 million in exploration expenditures, employed over 30,000 workers, and contributed $7.3 billion (approximately 3%) to the provincial gross domestic product; more than any other natural resource sector. A Critical Minerals Strategy (Strategy) will help B.C. to build on these strengths and to capitalize on the critical mineral-intensive global transition to a green economy.
With B.C.’s strong geological potential and the solid environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of the mining sector, there is an opportunity to significantly expand and strengthen B.C.’s critical minerals activities and value chain. This will support the province’s economy by attracting new investment and furthering meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.