U.S. military to assess Canada critical minerals projects for funding , but none approved yet

Canadian battery mineral miners and explorers are sniffing around hundreds of millions of dollars in potential funding from the United States military, […]
Commerce Resources, with its Ashram rare earth metals project in Quebec, says it has long been aware of U.S. military funding opportunities.

Canadian battery mineral miners and explorers are sniffing around hundreds of millions of dollars in potential funding from the United States military, but there are no firm deals yet to take advantage of an alliance dating back to World War II.  

The concept of the U.S. funding projects in Canada to help sidestep China’s control over lithium and rare earth element (REE) processing broke into the open this month at a conference in Washington, D.C. However, some companies say they’ve been aware of the initiative for years. 

“Canada is a resource-based economy, whereas the U.S. is a manufacturing-based economy,” Christopher Grove, president of Commerce Resources (TSXV: CCE), which operates the Ashram REE project in northern Quebec, said by email. “This should be a perfect marriage.” 

There appears to be a new urgency under the Biden administration as it says it faces looming threats from China to national security through minerals needed for green energy and the wider economy. In March, it used the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III to give the Department of Defense increased powers to help miners and explorers secure supplies of battery minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese. They’re also seeking REEs used in much modern technology, from weapons to mobile phones.  

The DPA has US$750 million to fund projects after measures approved in a law passed in August for tax breaks on electric vehicles made in North America, and a Ukraine aid package in May, Lieutenant-Commander Tim Gorman, a spokesman for the Secretary of Defense, said in an email on Wednesday.  

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