On June 12th the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF) team made their way to Toronto for the Prospectors and Developers Association’s (PDAC) 90th global mining convention.

PDAC welcomed more than 17,000 delegates from businesses, communities, and governments to talk all things mineral exploration and development. During the conference, the team took part in sessions, met with representatives from companies running projects in Manitoba, and shared information about the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund as part of the Manitoba Government’s delegation. After a whirlwind three days, the team has a few key take-aways to share:

Manitoba is open for business for mineral exploration and development

On June 13th, the Manitoba Government hosted a reception with the Honourable Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba, who spoke to some exciting announcements for mining in Manitoba. She noted that Manitoba was once at the top of the Fraser Institute’s list of (mining) investment friendly jurisdictions, and that the province of Manitoba was committed to climbing to the top of the list once again.

To show this commitment, the Province of Manitoba made several notable announcements, including a renewed agreement with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to distribute $10M through MMDF over the next three years to support mining supply chain related projects in Manitoba.

The supply of critical minerals is essential to global energy transition – and Manitoba has a role to play!

The MMDF team attended the Canada Day sessions opened by Honourable Johnathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources for the Government of Canada. Minister Wilkinson highlighted the importance of the mineral sector in Canada – with 200 operating mines and 700,000 jobs. Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining and mineral exploration companies, and because of this position and our resource potential, Canada has an opportunity to play a role in the supply of critical minerals required for the global clean energy transition.

Minister Wilkinson noted, “There is no energy transition without critical minerals, and this is why critical mineral supply chain resilience is an increasing priority for advanced economies. By investing in critical minerals today, we are building a sustainable industrial base throughout the critical minerals supply chain for generations to come”.

According to the World Bank, demand for minerals such as lithium and graphite could increase by as much as 4,000 percent by 2050. Manitoba has a wealth of critical mineral resources, including lithium, nickel, copper to name a few, all of which can play an essential role in the supply of critical minerals within Canada to support our transition to a low-carbon economy.

To see more on Canada’s critical mineral strategy or critical minerals in Manitoba: Canada’s critical minerals strategy: Discussion paper – Canada.ca;  Resource Development | Natural Resources and Northern Development | Province of Manitoba

Building relationships with Indigenous partners is paramount

The MMDF team attended a session in PDAC’s indigenous program, Economic reconciliation pathways: Reimagining equity participation models. During the session, Dawn Madahbee Leach, Chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board and proud member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, spoke about the importance of economic reconciliation throughout Canada.

When it comes to mining projects, economic reconciliation can look like addressing critical issues such as the recognition of pre-existing Indigenous rights, FPIC (Free and Prior, Informed Consent), collaborative decision-making, the equitable sharing of benefits and sound environmental stewardship.

Each community has unique needs and challenges and therefore should be consulted (or lead) on all economic projects within the community and impacted lands. Madahbee Leach highlighted two developments working towards achieving economic reconciliation:

  • Indigenous Centre of Excellence for Mineral Development: The Indigenous Centre of Excellence for Mineral Development is committed to increasing Indigenous capacity in the mining sector in Northeast Ontario. It is a clearinghouse of information including mining data, case studies, legal referrals, and information on consultation and finances. Through the sharing of information and best practices, the centre will create a forum for adequate consultations, increase Indigenous interests and workforce in mining. The vision for the centre is to build capacity amongst Indigenous people to make informed decisions when it comes to resource development and mineral development.
  • National Indigenous Economic Strategy for Canada: The National Indigenous Economic Strategy for Canada came out of the OECD’s recommendation for a blueprint for Indigenous prosperity and economic reconciliation. The strategy includes 107 recommendations to achieve this. The areas of recommendation include Indigenous entrepreneurship, leadership and governance, labour force and markets, social capital, workplace, land sovereignty, land management, environmental stewardship, physical infrastructure, institutional infrastructure, financial resources, revenue sources, stimulus funds, procurement, and trade. Link: NATIONAL INDIGENOUS ECONOMY STRATEGY (niestrategy.ca)