Extraction of minerals used for multiple purposes across all sectors

GHG emissions

8 MtCO2eq (2018), 1% of total national emissions

Options for decarbonization

Electrification, advances in extraction and processing technologies, recycling and recovery, managed decline of coal

Stage of transition

Emergence/diffusion (metal recycling, improved extraction and processing technologies); Early diffusion (electric equipment, onsite renewable energy production and storage)

Nature of the problem today

Legacy infrastructure, high up-front costs, lack of regulatory framework (metal recycling and recovery)

Other systemic issues

Pollution; worker health and safety; remediation of abandoned sites; relations with Indigenous peoples

Opportunities and concerns

Potential to reduce operational costs, improve air quality and worker health, and create new revenue streams (metal recycling and recovery).

Design, build and test new electric mining technologies in Canadian labs and mines, export technology. Markets for minerals critical to a low carbon transition (for example, batteries). Indigenous land claims and opportunities for partnership. Competitiveness issues: need for international collaboration

Priorities for action

Incentivize use of electric mining equipment, and on-site renewable energy production and storage; regulatory framework and funding of pilots to encourage metal recovery/recycling

Longer-term issues

Lifecycle management of batteries, mine site reclamation, production of metallurgical coal

Indicators of progress

Proportion of mining equipment that is electric or fuel cell; volume and value of recycled metals.

Assessment table: Mining


Electric mining equipment

On-site renewable energy generation and storage

Small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs)

Transformation of extraction and processing technologies

Metal recycling and recovery technologies

Materials efficiencies in consumer sectors