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Capitalizing on Alberta’s mineral potential

Provincial Press Release September 23, 2020 @ 10:02 AM published at 10:28 AM

Alberta’s government has struck an expert panel to help the province diversify its economy and become a world leader in mineral resource production.

The five-member Mineral Advisory Council will help government unlock Alberta’s vast, untapped geological potential for various minerals that are in increasing global demand.

These minerals include lithium, vanadium, uranium, rare earth elements, diamonds, and potash – many of which are used to manufacture batteries, cell phones, energy storage cells, and other modern products. This potential, along with the province’s reputation as a leader in responsible resource development, puts Alberta in a good position to become a preferred international producer and supplier of minerals and mineral products. 

“A successful post-pandemic recovery requires a strong and diversified economy. Guided by the experience of our advisory council, we are designing a new mineral strategy that will place Alberta at the cutting edge of critical mineral exploration and development. Doing so will encourage investment and create jobs for Albertans, supporting our long-term economic recovery.” Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

“Economic recovery requires that we consider a wider spectrum of solutions. This is great for Alberta because we have an abundance of diversification opportunities that build upon our strengths while also preparing us for the future economy. For example, we are well-positioned to develop new mineral opportunities, such as lithium and vanadium, and we can do this because of the skills and assets of our energy industry.” Alison Cretney, managing director, Energy Futures Lab

“As corporate leaders dedicated to the safe and responsible development of Alberta’s natural resources, the Alberta Chamber of Resources and the Construction Owners Association of Alberta look forward to working with the council and the government on this ambitious and important strategy for Alberta’s future. We have second-to-none technical, innovation, environmental, and regulatory expertise in this province that will provide the strong foundation for success. This is a positive step forward for Alberta.” Nadine Barber, interim executive director, Alberta Chamber of Resources and the Construction Owners Association of Alberta

“E3 Metals is on the forefront of lithium development in Alberta, a critical mineral that can be produced on the backbone of the oil industry. Alberta has a skilled energy labour force already in place that is well-positioned to support an emerging minerals sector. As E3 Metals works to commercialize lithium production in Alberta, we are excited to participate in this broader effort to position Alberta as an international player in a world increasingly focused on battery materials. Chris Doornbos, president, CEO and director, E3 Metals Corp

Along with the work of the council – composed of experts in geology, resource development, Indigenous relations, regulatory and environmental affairs, and investor and industry perspectives – the government will engage key stakeholders to gather input on the elements of a successful mineral strategy. These elements include improving public access to quality data about mineral occurrences in Alberta, having a streamlined regulatory environment in place that assures environmentally responsible development, enhancing opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, promoting innovation and attracting investment. Engagement participants will include Indigenous, exploration and development, environmental and conservation, and research and innovation groups, as well as farming, landowner, and municipal organizations. Following this engagement, the government plans to release its complete strategy and action plan in spring 2021.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.

Members of the Mineral Advisory Council

  • Stephanie Autut – Currently the executive director of the Nunavut Water Board, Autut has more than 23 years of experience in environmental and land use planning and sustainable resource development legislation and regulation. She spent 11 years as executive director of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, and was an active participant in the legislative working group that developed the unique legislative framework that governs responsible resource development, environmental impact assessment and land use planning in Nunavut.

  • Bob McLeod – McLeod served two terms as premier of the Northwest Territories, retiring in 2019. His 12-year political career followed 30 years in the public service focusing on intergovernmental and Indigenous affairs, resource development, mining, and regulatory reform. A graduate of NAIT and the University of Alberta, McLeod wrote his thesis on Aboriginal self-government. With his strong background in mineral development, economic diversification and regulatory affairs, he brings a legislative and policy lens to the panel.

  • Allison Rippin Armstrong – With more than 25 years’ experience in regulatory processes and environmental compliance, Rippin Armstrong has worked with government, Indigenous organizations, regulatory agencies and resource companies through her work with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chambers of Mines, and the Yukon Women in Mining board.

  • Gordon Stothart – The president and CEO of IAMGOLD, and current chairman of the Mining Association of Canada, Stothart has more than 30 years’ experience in the international mining industry in operational, project and business development management roles. He brings an industry perspective to the panel with his extensive knowledge of effective mineral policy frameworks across the world.

  • Eira Thomas – The president, CEO, and co-founder of Lucara Diamond Corporation, and a current director of Suncor Energy, Thomas is a Canadian geologist with more than 25 years of experience in the Canadian mining industry. She has worked and invested millions of dollars in mineral projects across Canada and the globe and brings the perspective of both the entrepreneur and the geologist to the panel.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s mineral strategy will build on the province’s involvement with the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan.

  • Home to a well-established oil and gas and mining sector, Alberta already has a skilled workforce with experience in resource development, a well-defined and stringent regulatory system, and the necessary infrastructure in place to support an expanded and growing minerals sector.

  • Alberta has geological potential across the province for non-energy minerals, many of which have been identified as critical and strategic minerals – such as lithium in formation waters in south-central and 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.

  • Companies in Alberta are already working to develop innovative processes to extract minerals from oilfield brine and oil sands waste streams, including froth treatment tailings.

  • In 2019, Canada’s total mineral production value reached $48 billion.

  • Alberta’s current non-energy mineral production comes primarily from 20 active quarries producing salt, silica sand, limestone and other industrial minerals. There is a small amount of gold production reported as a byproduct of sand and gravel operations.


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