Government of Canada to Enhance Critical Minerals Sector With Launch of $1.5 Billion Infrastructure Fund

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 31, 2023 /CNW/ – Critical minerals are key enablers of clean technologies, like batteries, and clean energy sources, such as wind turbines and solar panels, which are essential to achieving a net-zero-emissions future. Canada’s critical minerals sector has tremendous opportunities that remain underdeveloped. This is largely because critical minerals deposits are often located in remote areas with challenging terrain and limited access to enabling infrastructure, such as roads or grid connectivity. Canada is already a leading supplier of sustainably sourced minerals and materials and is committed to making strategic investments to reinforce our position and drive job creation and economic growth.

That is why today, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF) will begin accepting applications when it opens its first call for proposals in late fall 2023.

The CMIF will address key infrastructure gaps to enable sustainable critical minerals production and to connect resources to markets. With up to $1.5 billion available over seven years, the fund will support clean energy and transportation projects that will enable critical mineral development.

Details about the first call for proposals will be available on the website, providing information about how interested applicants can apply.

The CMIF is a key component of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy and will complement other clean energy and transportation support that is already benefiting the critical minerals sector. By investing in the foundational and enabling infrastructure needed to develop critical minerals projects, Canada is helping to realize immense economic opportunities all along the value chain, from exploration and sustainable extraction to processing, advanced manufacturing and recycling, while simultaneously supporting the development of clean technologies essential to achieve a global net-zero emissions economy.


“Critical minerals are a generational economic opportunity for Canada. As major enablers of clean technologies and clean energy sources, demand for critical minerals is projected to rise exponentially as the global economy continues to shift toward low-carbon solutions. Through the $1.5-billion Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund, Canada will make strategic investments in projects to help enable and grow the sustainable development of these minerals, reinforcing Canada’s position as a global supplier of choice for clean technology, clean energy and the resources the world needs to build a prosperous net-zero economy.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Developing Canada’s critical minerals value chains will not only boost the competitiveness of the minerals and metals sector, it will support the growth of our economy, support Canada’s transition toward a net-zero economy and create well-paying jobs for Canadians. With investments through the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund and the Strategic Innovation Fund, our government is strengthening the electric vehicle value chain we’re building from coast to coast to coast by adding value to our critical minerals resources, from mineral processing to manufacturing and recycling.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Investing in Canada’s transportation infrastructure is a priority for our government. With the Critical Mineral Investment Fund and the National Trade Corridors Fund we’re building to strengthen Canadian supply chains and fostering economic resilience and sustainable growth in Canada.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez

Minister of Transport

“The $1.5-billion Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund and the Strategic Innovation Fund will help unlock the critical minerals sector that is so important to the development of clean technology. The CIB will play an important complementary role by supporting large-scale projects as we continue along the move toward a net-zero future. Through these investments, we are creating skilled jobs and supporting northern communities for years to come.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser

Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Our investments will help the mining industry develop important enabling and supporting infrastructure such as roads and energy facilities required prior to construction of mines. Canada has an opportunity to be a substantial global producer of critical minerals. We are pleased to play a role in unlocking critical mineral deposits, which are essential for Canada’s move to net zero and economic development in northern communities.”

Ehren Cory

CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

Quick Facts

  • The CMIF is a key program under the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy to support enabling clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects necessary to increase Canada’s supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals.
  • The CMIF will support strategic priorities such as decarbonizing industrial mining operations, strengthening supply chains through transportation infrastructure and advancing economic reconciliation by supporting the participation of Indigenous Peoples in infrastructure and critical mineral projects.
  • In 2022, the Government of Canada launched the Regional Energy and Resource Tables — a collaborative initiative with provinces and territories designed to identify, prioritize and pursue opportunities for sustainable job creation and economic growth. Critical minerals have been identified as an area for priority action by provincial and territorial governments through the Regional Tables, and these tables will provide a great opportunity for them to highlight priority critical mineral infrastructure projects that may be supported by the CMIF.

Related Information

Backgrounder: Government of Canada to Enhance Critical Minerals Sector With Launch of $1.5 Billion Infrastructure Fund

Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy

Minister Wilkinson Announces Over $344 Million for Canadian Critical Minerals Development 

Critical Minerals Center of Excellence

Regional Energy and Resource Tables

Budget 2023 — A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future

Backgrounder: Government of Canada to Enhance Critical Minerals Sector With Launch of $1.5 Billion Infrastructure Fund

The Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF) will support the development of strategic infrastructure projects that will enable the acceleration of Canada’s critical minerals production and reinforce associated supply chains. 

With up to $1.5 billion available over seven years, the CMIF will:

  • support clean energy projects that drive environmental performance while enabling critical minerals development, such as the generation, storage and transmission of non-emitting renewable or alternative energy, as well as grid connectivity; and
  • support transportation projects that will directly enable the development or expansion of critical minerals resources, such as roads, rail and marine transportation.

CMIF funding will be made available through two streams, both supporting mine sites and regional clean energy and transportation infrastructure.

  • The first stream, Preconstruction and Project Development, will fund pre-construction activities required to advance projects toward a shovel-ready state, for example, planning, studies and engagement with Indigenous groups.
  • The second stream, Infrastructure Deployment, will fund activities for shovel-ready projects, such as readily deployable solutions, construction, rehabilitation or enhancement of infrastructure.

Funding decisions will consider the feasibility of the proposed project and its potential to support critical minerals production in Canada while advancing broader environmental, economic and Indigenous reconciliation objectives.

The first CMIF Call for Proposals (CFP) will disburse an initial tranche of funding to shovel-ready projects that are deployable, having secured all necessary regulatory approvals and permits, and to pre-construction projects that can be deployed in future years. Eligible recipients will include a broad array of partners, including provinces and territories and organizations under provincial or territorial statute or regulation, such as Crown corporations and public utilities, private businesses, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous groups.

The maximum funding available per project under the first CFP will be $50 million for most applicants. Provincial and territorial governments may apply for up to $100 million for public projects. The CMIF will fund up to 50 percent of total eligible expenditures, except in the case of Arctic, Northern and Indigenous-led projects (up to 75 percent) and public–private partnerships (up to 33 percent). While most contributions will be non-repayable, the contributions that will directly enable profit generation for a non-Indigenous business will be conditionally repayable. When assessing projects, the CMIF will consider both the infrastructure and the mining activities it will support.

To ensure federal funding is used where it is most needed, all applications will be submitted to the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) for assessment of private investment potential and CIB participation. In cases where financing could be made available via the CIB, the CMIF’s potential contribution to a project will be scaled accordingly.

The CMIF will complement and may leverage proposals submitted to other clean energy and transportation infrastructure programs, such as:

  • The CIB’s Critical Minerals Infrastructure Investments and Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative,
  • Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund,
  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity Program, and
  • Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables Electrification Pathways and Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities programs.

The CMIF will also offer grant funding to support Indigenous groups and organizations to engage in the development and implementation of CMIF-related infrastructure projects. Further details about CMIF grants will be available shortly.

It is anticipated that the CMIF will launch its first CFP by late fall 2023.

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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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