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Province backs mining innovation fund for 3 more years

Ontario pledges $5 million per year for the next three years to spur innovation and research into the introduction of battery electric vehicles in the mining sector 
An Epiroc battery electric mining vehicle is pictured at the 2023 BEV In Depth conference in Sudbury.

Ontario's recently announced $214-billion provincial budget gave a little nod to the province’s mining industry with continued funding over three years for the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF).

The fund was kicked off in 2022 with $5 million to promote innovation and research work for the adoption of battery electric vehicles and replacement of diesel powered vehicles in Ontario mines. 

The new funding announced last Thursday will see an additional $5 million per year in 2024-25, in 2025-26 and in 2026-27 to help Ontario’s mining sector continue the research, development and commercialization of innovative technologies, including techniques, processes and solutions related to critical minerals. This includes funding projects in Sudbury.

The Ontario budget document said the new funding will be directed to projects that are expected to tackle strategic challenges faced by the critical minerals sector in several areas such as the battery supply chain, deep exploration and mining, mineral processing, as well as the recovery of minerals.

"Through this investment, the CMIF will encourage further private–public collaboration and help create jobs supporting municipalities, Indigenous communities and regional economies," said the budget document.

In the past year and a half, the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund supported several innovative projects by providing up to $500,000 in funding for a maximum of 50 per cent of eligible project costs, which included two Sudbury projects. These include:

  • Carbonix Inc., an Indigenous-owned company, received $475,000 to help refine the process for converting mining waste, petroleum coke and other by-products into high‑energy density graphite for use in the battery supply chain.
  • Canada Nickel Company received $500,000 to fund research to commercialize carbon capture processing techniques for nickel to produce battery grade nickel and nickel for clean steel.
  • Frontier Lithium Inc. received $500,000 to help develop innovative lithium processing techniques and establish lithium mining and mineral processing in Ontario for use in battery and EV manufacturing supply chains.
  • Vale Canada received $500,000 to develop bioleaching techniques for reprocessing tailings to extract nickel and cobalt from mine waste to help increase the supply of battery metals.
  • Wyloo Metals received $500,000 to test the feasibility of repurposing and storing all tailings materials underground in the form of backfill in mine workings.