Infrastructure investments key to critical mineral projects

"We have the opportunity to be leaders in the world's transition if we invest smartly in infrastructure" - CIB CEO

Infrastructure investments key to critical mineral projects

Critical mineral projects have emerged as pivotal components in Canada's shift towards clean energy, but their success hinges on infrastructure investments, according to Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) CEO Ehren Cory. During the World Energy Conference held in Calgary, Cory revealed to BNN Bloomberg that the CIB is gearing up to provide a $100 million loan for mineral mining infrastructure. 

“We're investing in the roads, clean power, water and wastewater, and the infrastructure that those mines need to be economically viable, especially in northern and remote communities, which is where many of our resources are,” Cory told BNN Bloomberg. “So that first investment is coming, (but) that $100 million is really just our initial target. It's a floor, not a ceiling.” 

Established as a federal Crown corporation five years ago, the CIB was designed to invest in infrastructure projects that attract private capital. 

The federal government has recognized the significance of critical minerals in Canada's energy transition strategy. However, companies involved in their extraction encounter unique challenges, a gap that the CIB aims to fill. 

Cory hinted at a future announcement regarding a new critical mineral project in Canada's northern regions that the bank intends to support through infrastructure financing. 

“It's a mine, it produces several critical minerals because often mineral deposits are co-located, it is in the north, and it involves active participation of local communities and of Indigenous groups,” Cory said. 

“It's got a great private company who's leading it. We're not the drivers, our private partners are. We get to be their supporters, their cheerleaders and their financiers,” he added. 

Cory stressed that such infrastructure investments can propel Canada towards achieving its environmental and economic objectives and position the country as a global leader in the clean energy transition. 

“We have the opportunity to be leaders domestically, but also leaders in the world's transition if we invest smartly in infrastructure,” Cory said. “I'm very optimistic about our potential to reach not only our goals, but to play a big role in reaching the world's goals if we're smart about it.”