Appetite for Apatite: Quebec Adds Apatite to Critical Minerals List

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is sponsored content for First Phosphate.

Quebec has unveiled its ambitious 2023-2025 Action Plan, building upon the Quebec Plan for the Valorization of Critical and Strategic Minerals 2020-2025 launched in October 2020. The comprehensive plan, announced by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Maïté Blanchette Vézina, not only outlines strategies to bolster the green sector but also adds key minerals to the list of critical and strategic minerals.

The plan aims to contribute to the green sector by promoting the recycling of critical minerals, fostering a circular economy, and strengthening the value chain for these minerals, with a specific focus on sectors like lithium-ion batteries. The latest additions to the plan include aluminum, manganese, germanium, high-purity iron, high-purity silica, and notably, apatite.

Vézina highlighted, “At a time when the supply of critical and strategic minerals is becoming increasingly essential, especially for the decarbonization of the economy, Quebec has the privilege of having the mineral resources and know-how necessary to develop its MCS value chain in compliance with the principles of sustainable development, social acceptability, and wealth creation for regions and communities.”

The new actions outlined in the plan aim to support workforce training, facilitate the digital transformation of mines, and optimize the environmental framework, all contributing to the overarching goal of decarbonizing the economy. Additionally, a bill amending the Mining Act is in the drafting stage and will be tabled soon.

The Ministry also indicated that as of March 31, 2023, 41.1% of the initial budget of $90 million allocated to the critical minerals plan was invested. With an additional $18 million from the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 budgets, the total investment over five years reaches $108 million. The progress report suggests that Quebec is well-positioned to become a leader in the production, processing, and recycling of critical and strategic minerals.

Increased apatite

First Phosphate (CSE: PHOS) celebrated the announcement, particularly the inclusion of apatite, which is a group of phosphate minerals, in the updated list of critical and strategic minerals. This move aligns Quebec with other jurisdictions, including Ontario, the European Union, and South Korea, in recognizing phosphate as a critical mineral.

The company emphasized the potential of Quebec igneous anorthosite phosphate rock as an untapped source of high-purity phosphate, crucial for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery production. First Phosphate envisions the development of an LFP battery valley in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, aiming to meet the anticipated demand for LFP battery cathode active materials across North America.

The decision by the Governments of Canada and the United States on the status of phosphate as a critical and strategic mineral is expected in 2024 or beyond, and with current North American phosphate production projected to decline, Quebec’s strategic focus on this essential mineral places it at the forefront of the region’s electrification needs.

“First Phosphate has been actively involved in the development of Quebec igneous phosphate resources and applauds Quebec’s acknowledgement of the tremendous opportunity that its local phosphate resources represent for the electrification needs of North America,” the company said in a statement.

FULL DISCLOSURE: First Phosphate is a client of Canacom Group, the parent company of The Deep Dive. Canacom Group is currently long the equity of First Phosphate. The author has been compensated to cover First Phosphate on The Deep Dive, with The Deep Dive having full editorial control. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. We may buy or sell securities in the company at any time. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security.

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