Canada Is Sitting On A Treasure Trove Of Crucial Green Minerals — There’s Just One Catch

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Canada is sitting on an enormous deposit of critical minerals for green technology, but it would need to tear up swaths of a forest and otherwise develop wilderness to access those reserves, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The “Ring of Fire” deposit more than 700 miles northwest of Toronto contains underground deposits of cobalt, nickel, platinum and other metals needed to build green technologies like electric vehicle (EV) batteries, with experts estimating that the deposit could potentially be worth tens of billions of dollars, according to the WSJ. The deposit sits in the middle of largely untouched forestry and peat bogs, and is proximate to several indigenous tribes, with these factors prompting environmentalist interests to oppose both the infrastructure development needed to extract the deposits and the extraction itself.

“Canada could be the world’s number one supplier of critical minerals if they get it right now,” Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, told the WSJ. (RELATED: GOP Rep Introduces Bill To Counter Chinese Use Of ‘Forced Labor’ In Critical Minerals)

The deposit is thought to be larger than the size of Rhode Island, and its discovery prompted a flood of mining claims from interested companies looking to cash in on the underground minerals, according to the WSJ. However, full-scale mining of the deposits would require companies to displace some of the surface level peat bogs that are on top of the deposits, and also to build all-weather roads through the remote region to facilitate the transportation of the extracted ore to more populated and connected regions.

Currently, the region is mostly only accessible when waterways are frozen over via ice roads or when cargo planes can land on frozen lakes, but the all-season road network would alleviate those logistical restrictions, according to the WSJ.

The trepidation over environmental impacts is impeding extraction in the Ring of Fire, even though some nearby tribes are in favor of development that would bring more jobs and access to their remote region, according to the WSJ.

Global demand for critical and rare earth minerals is set to skyrocket in the coming years as Western economies, including the U.S., transition away from fossil fuels in favor of green technology to counter climate change, according to the International Energy Agency. Currently, China dominates these supply chains, which could allow it to benefit economically and geopolitically from the green agendas of the U.S. and other Western countries following similar policies.

The U.S. military has moved to encourage private companies to extract minerals from the Ring of Fire in light of these concerns, the WSJ reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the discussions on the issue.

The Canadian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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