According to two senior government sources, Canada’s federal budget will contain at least C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) for a plan to speed the extraction and processing of essential minerals needed for the electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain.
According to sources familiar with the matter who were not authorised to speak on the record, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which is set to release its budget on Thursday, will invest to increase the extraction and processing of critical minerals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt, and magnesium.
The investment might be stretched out over more than a year, but the sources wouldn’t say how long.
Last month, Canada promised financial support for the construction of two facilities that will produce battery materials for electric vehicles and one battery gigafactory, but no agreements for mineral extraction or refining have been revealed.
In a recent telephone interview with Reuters, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said, “There are several particular projects that we are looking at and working on at the moment.”
“All prospective initiatives, whether extraction or processing,” he noted, “need to be greatly expedited,” and “that’s what the crucial mineral strategy will be about.”
The Canadian finance ministry refused to say if the investment will be included in Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s upcoming budget presentation to the House of Commons.
Canada, which has a large mining industry, has established a multibillion-dollar fund to invest in green technologies and is wooing companies involved in all levels of the electric vehicle supply chain to ensure the future of its manufacturing heartland in Ontario as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions.
Because Ontario is so near to American manufacturers in Michigan and Ohio, General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N), and Stellantis NV (STLA.MI) have all declared ambitions to build electric vehicles in the state.