Countries around the world are doubling down on their commitments to more sustainable climate and energy practices, including Canada.

Net zero agendas adopted by energy-intensive economies will necessarily require large-scale rollouts of renewable energy technologies to eliminate emissions from power generation and decarbonize the world’s manufacturing and transport sectors that largely rely on fossil fuels.

A critical strategic consideration is ensuring access to and management of the key natural resources, such as minerals and metals, that are important inputs into many clean energy and digitized solutions. There is a threat that access to these ‘strategic resources’ will be politicized in the name of national security given the centrality of their use to broader economic development and technological innovation, as well as the energy transition.

Such potentially weak links in the supply chain don’t just impact the energy industry. They also affect sectors dependent on green technologies and energy storage solutions, such as infrastructure, transport and automotive, as well as those competing for resources that have multiple applications, such as industrial manufacturing and life sciences.

Canada’s role in the renewable energy supply chain

In recognition of these risks and “to position Canada as the leading mining nation, as set out in the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP)”1. the Government of Canada has recently released its Critical Minerals List, 31 minerals, all with deposits in Canada, identified as critical minerals based on their necessity for renewable energy development, economic growth and national security.

The Canadian government has indicated it intends to:

  • Capitalize on the rising global demand for critical minerals
  • Position Canada as the sustainable global supplier of choice
  • Invest in initiatives that help promote Canada’s competitiveness.

From ‘essential’ to the energy transition to ‘critical’ for business

Our new report, Resourcing the Energy Transition: Making the World Go Round looks at the impacts of the energy transition on demand for raw materials in the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) sector – and how effective risk and supply chain management can ensure they are a part of a circular economy. And it examines the ways in which geopolitical power could shift from oil-dominated countries to include critical metal-dominated countries.

Mining’s role in the renewable energy supply chain

The challenge that every mining company understands is the unique complexity to consistently find, mine, and deliver product to market.

In Resourcing the energy transition: Making the world go round,

  • We explore specific geographic and geopolitical factors that can influence comparative demand, availability and production of these resources – turning them from ‘essential’ to the energy transition to ‘critical’ for business operations.
  • We explain how the circular economy can help address these challenges. Reusing, recycling and repurposing metals and materials can contribute to surety of supply, and potentially reduce waste, pollution and carbon emissions by minimizing the need for extraction.

By analyzing the risks and opportunities of new business models and better circular metrics associated with the lifecycle of resources, businesses will not only be able to mitigate potential supply chokepoints and realize cost savings, but also capture new opportunities, as consumers, employees and private and public financial stakeholders gravitate towards industry leaders in this space.

Governments, investors, mineral producers, corporates and end users each have a part to play in the shift in energy mix and resource availability. A society keen to accelerate the energy transition must now prioritize working with the mining sector to help it deliver

Trevor Hart, KPMG Global Mining Leader

1 Natural Resources Canada website

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