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‘Transformative force’

CNA, Memorial agreement focuses on critical minerals industry in N.L.

Research

By Jeff Green

A recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and Memorial University focuses on maximizing the potential of the critical minerals industry.

A group of people standing together in a conference room with screens, speakers and pop-up banners around and behind them.
Minister Andrew Parsons (fourth from right) announced the MOU at CNA’s Reality Capture and Hyperspectral Technology Applications in the Mining Sector presentation in Toronto.
Photo: Submitted

The five-year agreement was announced by Andrew Parsons, minister, Industry, Energy and Technology, in Toronto, Ont., on March 6.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada premier mineral exploration and mining conference.

More than 1,100 exhibitors and 2,500 investors are participating, with upwards of 30,000 visitors being exposed to educational programming and business opportunities while networking with global stakeholders in the mining industry.

Major contributor

The MOU is a direct result of Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy, released by the federal government in late 2022, with a plan to increase the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals and support the domestic and global movement toward a green and digital economy.

Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to be a major contributor to accelerating Canada’s clean energy transition. Canada contains vast critical mineral wealth.

Known deposits represent one-third of all 31 critical minerals identified in the strategy.

“Memorial has demonstrated research strengths in a range of multidisciplinary areas.” — Dr. Tana Allen

As Newfoundland and Labrador’s public post-secondary education providers, CNA and Memorial University each have applied research and innovative technological capabilities to collaborate and establish supports for a critical minerals industry.

“My department is working collaboratively with College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University to advance opportunities related to emerging critical minerals,” said Minister Parsons.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is well-positioned with the critical minerals needed to meet global demand, and we will continue working together to ensure our province holds an important place in the global critical mineral value-added supply chain.”

Jason Rolls, vice-president of academic and applied research, CNA, says supporting the safe and sustainable exploration and processing of the province’s critical mineral wealth is a massive and complex undertaking. It will require the co-operation of many organizations and industry partners, he says.

“This agreement is a recognition of the challenge and our collective steps towards developing what we see as the transformative force critical minerals can play in our economy,” Mr. Rolls said. “CNA looks forward to working with Memorial University to create the academic programming, applied research and relevant skills training that our critical mineral sector will require to realize the maximum benefits for the province.”

Dr. Tana Allen, acting vice-president (research), Memorial University, says research teams will work together to increase knowledge on critical minerals.

“As one of Canada’s top 20 research institutions, Memorial has demonstrated research strengths in a range of multidisciplinary areas, including natural resources and the environment. We will draw on this expertise to explore opportunities related to critical minerals, while also strengthening our relationship with College of the North Atlantic.”

MOU background

The agreement between CNA and Memorial University outlines some of the numerous academic and research activities to be conducted over the next five years, including the following:

  • a partnership that will pursue funding in support of critical minerals research and innovation
  • administration of funding from funding partners to support research projects
  • undergraduate and graduate student mobility
  • exchange of publications, research materials, newsletters, etc.
  • joint projects related to research, teaching and faculty development
  • joint developments of training and academic programs in support of the critical minerals industry

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