Trudeau to visit rare earths element processing plant in Saskatoon


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to tour a rare earths element processing plant in Saskatoon today, but Saskatchewan’s premier says he’s disappointed he was not made aware of the visit. 

Lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper and the group of 17 metals and minerals known as rare earth elements are being prioritized for investments in exploration, production and processing as part of Canada’s critical minerals strategy.

Critical minerals were also among the issues Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador discussed during their summit last week in Mexico.

Canada is not a commercial producer of rare earth elements, though it does have some of the largest-known deposits.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark is scheduled to be part of Trudeau’s tour of the processing plant, and the prime minister is scheduled to speak to media afterward.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says rare earth development is an area the federal and provincial governments see eye-to-eye on, so it’s disappointing his government was not made aware of the prime minister’s visit. 

“Saskatchewan has been advocating for increased investment in this area, and we hope that the prime minister will have positive news today — and into the future — on our applications before Natural Resources Canada,” Moe said in a statement.

In 2020, the World Bank predicted that demand for critical minerals — dozens of metals and minerals like lithium and copper that are used in batteries and clean energy generation — will soar 500 per cent by 2050.