A new look at critical mineral mining – processing investment

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By Bruce Downing, M.Sc., P.Geo

There have recently been numerous articles and webinars on the state of critical mineral resource investment in British Columbia and Canada. Lots of words but no action. My suggestion is to create a critical mineral – metal processing investment tax credit similar to the exploration critical mineral tax credit.

This would be applicable to an investment for mining to processing of viable battery product(s). There would be a Canadian federal tax credit together with a provincial tax credit. This would also include research and development leading to Canadian intellectual property which would also be included in the critical mineral to metal processing investment tax credit.

Each applicant would have a 10-year tax credit period. This tax credit would start with the issued critical mineral – metal mine – processing permit.  The incentivized critical mineral – metal mining permit would come with a caveat that the permit must include a critical mineral to metal to product processing section.

The Canadian government has spent a few billion dollars on initiating EV battery manufacturing plants but no money for processing of the critical minerals to get the critical metals for the batteries. This EV battery manufacturing event has been greenwashed as a job creation policy. The critical mineral to critical metal processing supply chain would create more jobs, more Indigenous benefits and more revenues to many stakeholders than the battery manufacturing companies.

Our politicians need to know about the exploration to mining to mineral processing industry. What is missing is action by our elected Members of Parliament and MLA’s.  Where are their voices in getting things done? Many critical mineral deposits can occur within their ridings and on Indigenous territory but we do not hear from them. If also parts of the critical mineral – metal supply chain occur within any of their ridings, then these politicians will also be responsible for integrating the supply chain permits.  In regard to permitting, this is a provincial and federal problem, and it would appear that the various mine permits are only issued after all opportunities to reject them have failed. We need to be more proactive and productive in our permitting process.

Remember … No permits lead to no Investment which leads to no jobs, no Indigenous benefits and no government revenues (i.e. health care, education).

Caveats: Any problems are easy to identify; however, solutions are easy to suggest but can be hard to implement. Financings are hard to complete (need some innovative, inventive and incentive ideas as money moves quickly where there is some certainty of profit with low risk).

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