Worldwide demand for metals and critical minerals is increasing rapidly. With a wealth of natural resources and skilled workforce, Alberta could supply the critical minerals needed to produce things like batteries for cellphones, energy storage cells for electric vehicles and other products required for a low-carbon world.

To help grow Alberta’s mineral sector, the Mineral Resource Development Act is now in effect for brine-hosted minerals, and new geological data is being released that maps out
Alberta’s mineral resources to help guide future development. Helium will also soon be added to the province’s list of critical minerals.

This is all part of implementing Renewing Alberta’s Mineral Future, the province’s strategy and action plan to capitalize on Alberta’s untapped mineral potential.

“We are taking actions to ensure that Alberta is competitive in global mineral exploration and development. These steps will support investment, create jobs and help supply minerals we need for the future. Alberta is a global energy leader – we are ensuring that we remain innovative and competitive.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Energy

Alberta’s government has proclaimed the Mineral Resource Development Act to establish the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) as the full life-cycle regulator for brine-hosted minerals. This one-window approach will provide clarity and certainty for industry and investors while ensuring the safe and responsible development of Alberta’s mineral resources.

The requirements for brine-hosted mineral development, which were informed by feedback from Albertans, will be publicly available on the AER’s website.

Enhancing public geoscience

In recent years, Alberta’s government invested more than $25 million to enable the AER and Alberta Geological Survey to deliver more minerals-focused public geoscience information and build an inventory of minerals and their concentrations across the province.

On March 2,the Alberta Geological Survey is releasing targeted geoscience mapping to enhance public geological understanding of Alberta’s mineral resources across the province. This is the first data set from a three-year survey of Alberta’s mineral potential.

Enhancing publicly accessible geoscience information will attract more investment, reduce exploration risk and contribute to well-informed resource development and land-use decisions.

“Accurate and comprehensive data is key to effectively, efficiently and safely regulate Alberta’s energy resources. The data gathered by the Alberta Geological Survey, funded by the Government of Alberta, will ensure the Alberta Energy Regulator has an unprecedented depth of knowledge relating to Alberta’s minerals and other natural resources. We anticipate beginning to accept brine mineral applications soon.”

Laurie Pushor, president and CEO, Alberta Energy Regulator

Supporting helium development

Moving forward, the government will add helium to Alberta’s list of critical minerals in Alberta. Adding helium to the strategy aligns Alberta’s critical mineral list with Canada’s Critical Mineral Strategy and potentially broadens support for helium development as the federal government implements its strategy in coming years.

Quick facts

  • 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.
  • Alberta is home to leading refineries for critical minerals, including nickel, cobalt and magnesium, and has the potential to build a low-carbon economic value-chain based on the province’s supply of the necessary critical minerals.
  • Minerals are used worldwide to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, cellphones, energy storage cells, fertilizers and many other everyday objects and industrial applications.
  • Global demand for helium is growing, in part because of its use in medical imaging, electronics and space exploration. Alberta has potential for significant helium deposits in the southeast part of the province.
  • The first Alberta Geological Survey data release – from a three-year survey of Alberta’s mineral potential – includes raw data from:  
    • 248 brine samples from oil and gas operations
    • an airborne geophysical survey in northern Alberta 
    • whole rock analysis of 2,423 samples from the Canadian Shield in northeast Alberta