Government Funding for Electric Vehicles Can Help Canadian Mining Companies
The news broke yesterday that the Federal and Ontario Provincial Governments are injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the Oakville Ford Plant to help build electric vehicles and the batteries that power them. But this is interesting and maybe contentious for some, in a number of ways.
Firstly, full transparency, I am completely on board with Canadian's drive to cleaner energy, electric vehicles and other relevant sustainable technologies. And I believe most Canadians are.
However, as a proud Canadian, I do continue to wonder why Ontario has an amazingly large auto sector but no Canadian car companies. How about a Canadian car company that exclusively builds electric vehicles. That way, our governments can support Canadian workers and not have U.S. companies repatriate their profits back to the U.S. But we can keep the profits in Canada and continue to invest in the future.
Secondly, on judgement, I would suggest the average Canadian thinks of the mining sector as old, dirty, and environmentally unfriendly. But where do all those ingredients for electric vehicle batteries come from? The answer is many of those ingredients come from Canadian mines producing nickel, cobalt, lithium, amongst other ingredients. And much of it is mined here in Canada, through Canadian companies, hiring Canadians, in many rural and indigenous communities, around the country.
I recently heard an expression that says "if it's not farmed, it is mined". And this made me start to see things a little differently and do some research.
I found a particularly interesting white paper produced by the Mining Association of Canada, called "30 Things" which outlined, obviously, thirty items that we use, often, and in some cases, everyday that require ingredients mined here in Canada. These items include smart phones, electricity, food processing, equipment in healthcare from MRIs to materials for artificial joints, many of the elements in planes, solar panels, hydrogen for buses, iPads & xBoxes, dentistry equipment, metal blends to break down contaminants in ground water, and equipment to brew beer, and oh ya, the Stanley Cup.
Now I completely profess that I am not an expert on these areas, nor the environment. But I am a proud Canadian and have always wanted to support our home grown talent, companies and communities. And I must say, and I only speak for myself, I think I took a lot of these indispensable, and in many cases, environmentally important items for granted that are mined right here in Canada.
So as we continue to have the important debate around moving to a green planet, I think we all need to better understand the supply chain of these products we so love; be it your phone, solar panels or your new electric vehicle. As one smart person said to me this week about Canadian's general perspective on the mining sector vs evolving to a green country,..."it is not either, or, but both".
You can find the "30 Things" white paper on the Mining Association of Canada's website here: https://mining.ca/resources/mining-facts/
You can find some of the press around the investment in electric vehicles, and therefore helping Canadian mines here : https://bit.ly/36Mgshh
Happy to hear your comments and point of view on "not either or, both".