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Minerals strategy and action plan

Overview

Renewing Alberta’s Mineral Future is a strategy and action plan to re-energize Alberta’s minerals sector.

Overview

Renewing Alberta’s Mineral Future is a strategy and action plan for Alberta to capitalize on our potential to become a preferred producer and supplier of metallic and industrial minerals and mineral products. It outlines a path to unlock Alberta’s untapped mineral resource potential, helping to meet increasing demand while creating jobs and attracting investment. It also highlights the importance of responsible and efficient exploration, development, manufacturing, and recycling of minerals and mineral products.

Worldwide demand for metals and critical minerals is increasing rapidly in response to growing populations, technological advancement and the global shift towards a lower carbon economy. These minerals are essential to producing the technologies and products that support a low-carbon economy.

Alberta, as a leader in responsible development, has the opportunity to be at the forefront of global mineral exploration and development. The province is home to vast geological potential and an experienced workforce, and has the necessary infrastructure in place to support a growing minerals sector.

The strategy is a key component of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, furthering work to strengthen and diversify the province’s economy.

Renewing Alberta’s Mineral Future

There are 6 key areas to support and achieve Alberta’s vision:

  • Grade 1
    Increase public geoscience

    Alberta must enhance its public geological knowledge base to equip our governments, the public, industry, land owners as well as Indigenous Peoples with better understanding of our resource potential.

  • Grade 2
    Enhance the fiscal and regulatory environment

    A clear, predictable and robust regulatory regime is key to boosting investor confidence, attracting investment and ensuring responsible resource development. The Government of Alberta is proposing updates to streamline Alberta’s legislation and regulations that oversee the life cycle of metallic and industrial mineral development.

  • Grade 3
    Promote responsible development

    Alberta is modernizing its approach to mineral development, which aims to provide industry with more flexibility for acquiring rights and making new investments, while we continue to uphold our province’s stringent environmental and health and safety standards.

  • Grade 4
    Advance opportunities for Indigenous Peoples

    Enhancing the involvement of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses in mineral exploration and development – as well as along the mineral supply and value chains – allows for a better understanding of the opportunities, interests and potential concerns identified by Indigenous Peoples.

  • Grade 5
    Develop public awareness and a skilled workforce

    Increased public awareness of the opportunities in the minerals sector will ultimately support the development of a skilled and educated labour force.

  • Grade 6
    Promote innovation and industrial development

    Alberta must encourage innovation, as well as advance the development and adoption of emerging technologies to help expand the scientific and industrial capacity for mineral production and manufacturing. This helps the province capitalize on opportunities along the full mineral supply and value chains.

Mineral resources in Alberta

Alberta has favorable geology for many metallic and industrial minerals, such as lithium, uranium, vanadium, nickel, rare earth elements, potash and diamonds.

Table 1: Common uses for minerals found in Alberta.

Mineral Common uses
Cobalt Used in rechargeable batteries and superalloys
Diamonds Used in manufacturing and jewelry
Iron Used in manufactured steel, food storage cans, automobiles and heavy machinery
Lithium Used primarily for lithium-ion batteries, greases and pharmaceuticals
Magnesium Used in furnace linings for manufacturing steel and ceramics
Nickel Used in magnets, rechargeable batteries, steel and superalloys
Potash Primarily used in fertilizer
Rare earth elements (REE) Primarily used in wind turbines, clean technologies, batteries and electronics
Titanium Used in metal alloys and pigments
Uranium Primarily used for nuclear fuel
Vanadium Primarily used for catalysts, alloys and for energy storage
Zirconium Used in high-temperature ceramics
Zinc Used in steel plating, alloys, paints, rubber, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals

Legislation changes

Bill 82, the Mineral Resource Development Act, was introduced on November 4, 2021. If passed, it will align the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) authority over minerals with its authority over other energy resources and help enhance the fiscal and regulatory environment for metallic and industrial mineral development, supporting the second key area in Renewing Alberta's Mineral Strategy.

By creating a one-window approach, the proposed legislation would provide clarity and certainty for industry and investors, while protecting the best interests of Albertans by ensuring the safe, orderly and responsible development of the province’s mineral resources.

Right now, regulatory oversight for minerals is split among multiple entities in the province and there are no specific resource conservation statutes for metallic and industrial minerals, unlike for other natural resources in the province. Resource conservation statues are needed to guide responsible development and resource management practices.

Combined with the Responsible Energy Development Act, Bill 82 would provide legislative authority to the AER to regulate mineral resources and ensure their safe, efficient, orderly and responsible development.