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.
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.
|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|
Bill 82, the Mineral Resource Development Act, received royal assent on December 2, 2021. Bill 82 aligns the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) authority over minerals with its authority over other energy resources and helps 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 legislation provides 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 provides legislative authority to the AER to regulate mineral resources and ensure their safe, efficient, orderly and responsible development.
- Building a future for critical and rare earth minerals in Alberta (November 4, 2021)