COP15: Seven nations sign up to Canada-led Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance

Published 09:40 on December 13, 2022  /  Last updated at 09:40 on December 13, 2022  /  Biodiversity  /  No Comments

A new international alliance has formed on the sidelines of COP15 in Montreal to ensure the prevention of biodiversity loss, engagement with Indigenous communities, and the phasing out of greenhouse gas emissions from mining of critical minerals.

A new international alliance has formed on the sidelines of COP15 in Montreal to ensure the prevention of biodiversity loss, engagement with Indigenous communities, and the phasing out of greenhouse gas emissions from mining of critical minerals.

COP15 host Canada took the initiative to form the new alliance, while Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US also signed up as founding members, Natural Resources Canada announced Monday.

“The Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance is a historic step forward for Canada and our international partners in our collective efforts to secure the responsibly sourced critical minerals we need to power the clean energy transition,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources.

By joining the new group, members committed to work towards encouraging industry practices that will prevent the loss of biodiversity, protect species at risk, support nature protection, and minimise pollution, the announcement stated.

They also pledged to respect the rights and interests of Indigenous groups and local communities, including involving them in the economic benefits from mining activities.

Furthermore, they committed to help bring greenhouse gas emissions from such activities to net zero by mid century, restore ecosystems by requiring mines to be returned to their natural state at closure, build a circular economy, and foster ethical corporate practices.

The new alliance is just one of several international initiatives Canada plans to unveil during the two-week event in a bid to use its role as the host of the critical summit to drive further global action to protect nature.

Further dialogue on what constitutes sustainable critical minerals will be part of the International Mines Ministers Summit, to be held in Toronto next March.

The announcement comes after Canada just last week launched its domestic critical mines strategy, which includes commitments along the same lines as the new alliance, as well as targeting economic growth and job creation.

The Canadian government in its 2022 budget committed C$3.8 billion ($2.8 bln) over eight years to implement the strategy at home, with planned activities spanning geoscience and exploration, mineral processing, manufacturing, and recycling applications, and research and development.

“Critical minerals are the backbone of a net zero future, and we are positioning Canada to be a trusted supplier for our allies and the world. We cannot abandon our principles in pursuit of a net zero economy,” said Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

“The signing of the alliance sets a high bar among member states that mining activity meets the highest environmental, social and governance standards, including respecting the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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