Canada and the US have formalised a joint action plan over the sourcing of critical minerals used in key industrial sectors, in a move designed to strengthen “mutual interests” over supply chain security.

It builds on commitments made in 2019 by the countries’ leaders to bolster domestic minerals security, amid concerns about over-reliance on imports from China and Russia and the potential impact of any trade disruption.

The collaboration covers materials such as potash, uranium and rare earth elements, which are important ingredients in the manufacture of goods in key industries including communications, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.


US and Canada share mutual interests over secure access to critical minerals

The signatories claim the agreement will benefit their economic security and future industrial prosperity by ensuring access to minerals that will power new generations of technology manufacturing.

Canada’s minister of natural resources, Seamus O’Regan, said: “With $2.6bn worth of goods and services moving between Canada and the US every day, both of our economies are better off when we work together.

“By finalising the joint action plan, we are advancing secure access to the critical minerals that are key to our economic growth and security — including uranium and rare earth elements — while bolstering our competitiveness in global markets and creating jobs for Canadians.”


Canada is a key supplier of in-demand minerals for US industrial strategy

In June last year, a US government report called for action to be taken to boost domestic production of the minerals used in “strategic” industrial manufacturing sectors.

It cites research by the Interior Department, which identifies 35 commodities deemed “critical to the economic and national security” of the country. These include uranium, titanium, lithium and cobalt.

Canada is currently a key supplier of 13 of these designated minerals.

US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross said at the time: “These critical minerals are often overlooked but modern life without them would be impossible.

“The federal government will take unprecedented action to ensure that the US will not be cut off from these vital materials.”

The formalisation of the collaboration with Canada is the latest step in this plan, and will be followed up by further joint initiatives over information sharing, research and development and supply chain modelling.

In December, Canada joined the US-led Energy Resource Governance Initiative, which is designed to promote “sound mining sector governance and resilient energy mineral supply chains” across international markets.