Global demand for critical and rare earth minerals is rising, and Alberta has untapped resource potential. Minerals are used worldwide to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, cellphones, energy storage cells, fertilizers and many other everyday objects and industrial applications.
New and amended regulations will strengthen Alberta’s mineral regulatory framework and enable a one-window approach for metallic and industrial minerals extracted from underground saltwater, also known as brine-hosted minerals.
These changes reinforce the implementation of the Mineral Resource Development Act. In addition, the updates will support Alberta’s mineral strategy and action plan to grow the province’s standing as a preferred international producer and supplier of minerals and mineral products.
“Alberta is seizing the opportunity to be at the forefront of the mineral industry as a keystone for North American critical minerals supply chains. Unlocking our untapped mineral potential will create new jobs, attract investment and encourage innovation for generations to come. These regulations will help position Alberta’s industry to meet the increasing demand for minerals worldwide.”
The new and amended regulations will:
- Establish new tenure for brine-hosted minerals and update tenure requirements for rock-hosted minerals to help encourage timely exploration and production.
- Enable the Alberta Energy Regulator to become a one-stop regulator for the province’s brine-hosted mineral resources.
- Provide clarity for industry.
- Ensure the safe, orderly and responsible development of Alberta’s mineral resources.
The regulations keep Alberta’s strong regulatory protections in place to ensure safe and responsible development while adapting to the emerging and evolving nature of the minerals sector.
The next step in implementation will be the partial proclamation of the Mineral Resource Development Act.
The rules and requirements for brine-hosted minerals will be available upon the proclamation of the Mineral Resource Development Act. The Alberta Energy Regulator is currently reviewing feedback from Albertans, which will inform the final directives.
- Alberta has geological potential across the province for non-energy minerals, many of which have been identified as critical and strategic minerals. This includes lithium in formation waters in west-central Alberta; vanadium, rare earth elements and titanium in oil sands waste streams; potash in eastern Alberta; and uranium in southern and northeastern Alberta.
- The Mineral Resource Development Act established the Alberta Energy Regulator as the full life-cycle regulator for the province’s mineral resources. It received royal assent in December 2021.
- Tenure is the system through which Crown-owned mineral rights, including oil sands rights, are leased and administered.
- Regulations to modernize tenure for metallic and industrial minerals come into effect on Jan. 1, while the regulations to support the implementation of the Mineral Resource Development Act come into force upon proclamation of the act.