Canada adds high purity iron ore to Critical Minerals List

Canada has expanded its list of critical minerals to 34 following a review that identified three additional minerals the government considers important to its economy.

Natural Resources Canada revealed on Monday (10 June) that it is adding high-purity iron, phosphorous and silicon metal to the Critical Minerals List.

The government says these materials are integral to a variety of products, critical to the energy transition, are often in short supply and are critical to Canada’s future economic prosperity.

Silicon metal is essential to the manufacture of chips and semiconductors, which are used in almost any and everything electronic. 

High-purity iron ore is essential to green steel and integral to decarbonisation, while phosphorus combined with potash is essential for food security through the production of fertilisers. 

Phosphorus can also be used in lithium iron phosphate batteries, which Natural Resources Canada says is another strategic opportunity in the electric vehicle value chain for the country.

The first Critical Minerals List was released in March 2021 as part of Canada’s emissions reduction plan, which sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

For a mineral to be added to the list it must meet certain criteria including the supply chain is threatened, there is a reasonable chance of the mineral being produced by Canada and it is either essential to Canada’s economic or national security or is required for the national transition to a sustainable low-carbon and digital economy. 

Champion Iron, which owns and operates the Bloom Lake Mining Complex in Québec, welcomed the addition of high-purity iron ore to the Criticals Minerals List.

The company says its Bloom Lake operation, located on the south end of the Labrador Trough, has one of the highest purity iron ore resources globally and can produce a 67.5% direct reduction quality iron ore concentrate.

Champion Iron is working on several growth projects, including upgrading half of the Bloom Lake mine capacity to a direct reduction quality pellet feed iron ore with up to 69% iron. 

The company ships iron ore concentrate from Bloom Lake by rail to a ship loading port in Sept-Îles in Québec for delivery to China, Japan, the Middle East, Europe, South Korea, and India, as well as supplying the domestic market.

Write to Angela East at Mining.com.au 

Images: Champion Iron
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Written By Angela East
Managing Editor Angela East is an experienced business journalist and editor with over 15 years spent covering the resources and construction sectors and more recently working as a communications specialist handling media relations for junior resources companies.