Europe-Canada: dialogue on future management of raw materials


A new important meeting took place between the representatives of the European Union and the institutional and business realities of Canada. The third meeting of the bilateral dialogue focused on raw materials established under the strengthening of CETA opportunities took place. The deepening on new opportunities and synergies was born following the analysis of the economic sector on the mechanisms of raw materials after the spread of the health pandemic. Particular importance was given to recovery and recycling models related to raw materials and how to jointly affect climate and environmental protection.

Both sides expressed a strong interest in establishing stable relationships on common interests through the mutual integration of their respective commodity chains, cooperation in Research and Innovation, levelling of environmental, social and governance criteria. Further impetus to the opportunities of the CETA agreement was achieved as a result of the common vision to look forward to the EU-US-Japan Trilateral Conference on Critical Materials as an important forum to address global challenges related to raw materials and criticality analysis with countries sharing environmental and social concerns. The recent opening of the EU-U.S.-Japan Conference on Critical Materials to Canada and Australia is an important step in ensuring greater coordination activity between Canada and Europe in the immediate future. Canada is among the largest per capita producers and consumers of energy in the world. Its prosperity and competitiveness in the energy sector are linked to achieving sustainable economic growth and a transition to a low-carbon future.

Canada’s energy industries operate in free markets, where investment by Canadian and foreign companies ensures an efficient, competitive and innovative energy system. International energy trade is a vital part of the Canadian economy. In 2018, Canada traded energy with 165 countries, totaling C$132.2 billion in exports and C$50.5 billion in imports. The country has a wide variety of energy resources, producing primary energy, from crude oil (45%), natural gas (33%), hydroelectricity (7%), coal (6%), other renewables (4%), natural gas liquids (4%) and nuclear power (2%). In 2018, Canada ranked third in global crude oil reserves, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. 96% of Canadian reserves are concentrated in the oil sands, whose production in 2018 (2.91 million barrels per day) has exceeded conventional oil production (1.64 million barrels per day) since 2010. In 2018, Canadian coal production reached 63.3 million tons, of which 34 million tons were for export.

Currently, nearly 20% of Canada’s total energy supply comes from renewable sources. Canada has 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater with a hydroelectric capacity of 80,764 megawatts, available to a population that represents only 0.5% of the world’s population. The mining industry has a considerable weight in the Canadian economy, and is supported by a great diversity of resources: there are over 60 metals and minerals present in the territory that make up the great geological endowment of the country. Thanks to its rich resources Canada is a world producer of uranium and cobalt, aluminum and tungsten, with important resources of platinum, sulfur and titanium, nickel and diamonds. Fifty-seven percent of the world’s mining companies are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

These dynamics have generated an important debate between Europe and Canada regarding the development of the R&I sector along the commodity value chain. In Canada, the main elements of the research strategy for the commodity value chain want to explore how best to strengthen research and innovation cooperation with European research. The important meeting that took place between the representatives of the European Union and the institutional and business realities of Canada focused on the dynamics of sustainability and innovation characterizing the interaction with stakeholders, in particular on four topics: increased investment; environment and social license to operate with responsible extraction of raw materials; common procedures and jurisprudence and innovation processes.

Stakeholders believe it is essential to work on an economic system that follows the principles of green economy, digital and climate neutrality. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the health pandemic, the date of the next dialogue meeting has not been set precisely, and will take place in mid-2021.

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