Finding funding: New opportunities abound for the mining industry
March 07, 2023
March 07, 2023
There is funding available for mining clients in Canada to advance their projects
One of the biggest challenges mining faces is securing sufficient initial investment and sustaining growth capital through the life of a mine. Fortunately, increased access to funding is now a reality in Canada. There is more federal money accessible through grants and low interest loans than ever before. These are targeting innovation, decarbonization, jobs, and growth.
Furthermore, in 2022 the Government of Canada released its Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy. The aim is to increase the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals and support the development of domestic and global value chains for the green and digital economy. Why was this necessary? The reason is simple: the energy transition will require copious amounts of precious minerals and metals—and they are still in the ground.
Consider this from the strategy:
“Critical minerals represent a generational opportunity for Canada’s workers, economy, and net-zero future. They are the foundation on which modern technology is built. From solar panels to semiconductors, wind turbines to advanced batteries for storage and transportation, the world needs critical minerals to build these products. Simply put, there is no energy transition without critical minerals, which is why their supply chain resilience has become an increasing priority for advanced economies.”
– The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy
While the increase in funding is great news for the mining industry (and all industries navigating the energy transition), getting the money can be an arduous process. There are many federal, provincial, and municipal agencies that distribute funds through different programs. But some opportunities have short application windows and complex technical requirements. That’s why it can be helpful to work with a funding consultant. For more than 30 years, our team at Stantec has partnered with clients to secure over $6 billion in grant and loan funding in North America.
Let’s explore some of the new funding opportunities available for mine sites in Canada. We’re happy to help clients navigate the process.
One area where Canadian mines can access funding is decarbonization. We touched on this a little earlier. As the country continues to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), it is looking to foundational industries like mining to lead the pack. Why? Because mining is an energy-intensive industry. According to McKinsey & Company, it produces approximately 1 percent of global GHGs (Scope 1 and Scope 2).
Canada’s funding programs can truly change the game—especially for junior mining companies.
But the energy transition requires precious mined materials to produce renewable technologies, batteries, and more. We need them. The Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy recognizes this and is offering grant initiatives to mines that work to reduce emissions. This helps them offset costs while they transition to using cleaner, low-carbon energy. Let’s review a few of them below:
There are more grants and opportunities for mining companies that want to decarbonize. Funds exist for transitioning to electric fleets or designing charging infrastructure.
No doubt we can all agree that innovation is great. But mining companies often weigh tough decisions when determining whether to use a new technology. This can be true during design or when retrofitting existing operations. The first hurdle is upfront cost—there is a risk in making a big investment. The second is potential loss. How long will it take to transition to new technologies? Will there be a temporary disruption in output? These are questions mine operators must answer before committing to new technology-enhanced processes.
The good news? The Canadian government sees the benefits that come from evolving current technologies and processes. And it has allocated funds specifically for innovation. This means mine owners can lessen capital expenses. Let’s look at a few innovation funding programs in Canada:
These are only a few of the funding opportunities that mine operators can use. There are plenty of paths towards innovation that can help mining companies—and Canada as a whole.
A critical area of the Strategy is building partnerships with Indigenous communities. For a mining project to move forward, Indigenous consultation and community engagement are key.
There are plenty of ways to engage the local community. From environmental consultation to jobs to stakeholder engagement—building strong partnerships is vital. There are several funding opportunities for mining companies to improve the lives and well-being of Indigenous communities. Here are a few:
There are many opportunities to build partnerships with Indigenous communities across Canada. This is crucial for every industry, but it is particularly important for the mining sector.
It’s clear to see there is money on the table in Canada. The federal government, alongside provincial legislature, wants to ensure Canadian mines have the necessary tools to responsibly and sustainably produce minerals identified in the Critical Minerals Strategy. Really, it would be hard to find a project that doesn’t incorporate aspects of decarbonization, innovation, jobs and growth, or Indigenous partnerships. But we are in the midst of a great transition, and some mine sites will need to better understand the evolving funding landscape within Canada and how they may capitalize on funding opportunities while prioritizing a sustainable future.
Canada’s funding programs can truly change the game—especially for junior mining companies. So, as mine operators consider enhancements to existing mines, or even developing a new mine, it would be wise to work with teams who can help navigate the many new funding opportunities.