INDUSTRY BULLETIN: Ontario announces its First-Ever Critical Minerals Strategy to support a made-in-Ontario electric vehicle supply chain

March 18, 2022

As most Avalon shareholders are well aware, Avalon has for many years been promoting development of new secure critical minerals supply chains for defense, industrial, clean technology and pharmaceutical applications in North America to reduce our reliance on China as a sole source of supply. Canada has been well-positioned for years to leverage its vast untapped mineral resource wealth in the North and depth of experience in mineral development to establish these new critical minerals supply chains including lithium and rare earths. It has simply been a matter of implementing the needed policy changes to remove the regulatory barriers and encouraging more research and innovation on new more efficient extraction technologies to accelerate their development.

Yesterday’s news that Ontario is now proceeding to implement a new critical minerals strategy to support creating the full electric vehicles and battery manufacturing supply chains is good news for Avalon’s shareholders as the Company is ready to proceed with a new partner in developing the processing capacity for lithium battery materials in northwestern Ontario with the construction of a new lithium refinery in Thunder Bay. Here is the announcement from Premier Ford’s office.

March 17, 2022. THUNDER BAY – As innovation and technology drive dramatic changes to the world’s economy, Ontario is positioning itself to be a global leader in supplying the critical minerals that will fuel that change with the release of its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy.

“The Critical Minerals Strategy is our government’s blueprint to connect industries, resources and workers in our province’s north to the future of manufacturing in the south as we build up home-grown supply chains,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Doing so has never been more important as we secure game-changing investments in our auto sector to build the electric vehicles and batteries of the future using Ontario minerals.”

Ontario’s supply of critical minerals, processing capabilities and proximity to North American manufacturing hubs makes the province an ideal place for mineral exploration and investment. The Critical Minerals Strategy is a five-year roadmap to: better connect the mines in the north with the manufacturing sector in the south, in particular to Ontario-based electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing; tap into new and growing markets, including electric vehicles, batteries, telecommunications and national defence; and secure Ontario’s place in the global supply chain for decades to come.

The strategy focuses on six priorities:

  • Enhancing geoscience information and supporting critical minerals exploration
  • Growing domestic processing and creating resilient local supply chains
  • Improving the regulatory framework to make the mining industry more globally competitive
  • Investing in innovation, research and development
  • Building economic development opportunities with Indigenous partners
  • Growing labour supply and developing a skilled labour force

To ensure companies have the tools they need to find the mines of the future, the province is investing $24 million over three years in Ontario’s Junior Exploration Program, which includes $12 million for a critical minerals funding stream. The province is also investing $5 million over two years in a new critical minerals innovation fund that will support research for extraction and processing in the north.

“We believe there is an incredible opportunity to connect our northern and southern economies to build a made-in-Ontario supply chain for emerging technologies such as EVs,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our government is building an advanced manufacturing supply chain that will create economic opportunities for Ontarians across the province, including Indigenous communities. We want the world to know that Ontario is ready to supply our allies with a reliable source of critical minerals.”

Geopolitical forces are fueling a surging demand for reliable sources of critical minerals in international and North American markets. Ofntario’s world-class environmental, social and governance standards make it the perfect destination for environmentally responsible investors. Ontario is ready to benefit from the global shift to a cleaner economy.

“Ontario has what it takes to develop and build the car of the future through emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing processes,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through our Driving Prosperity plan and our first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy, our government is staking Ontario's claim to the emerging North American EV battery industry and positioning the province to leverage its critical mineral wealth.”

Critical minerals have a variety of strategic uses, including smartphones, batteries for EVs, pharmaceuticals and solar cells. The Critical Minerals Strategy will strengthen Ontario’s supply chains, attract new investment in the mining and manufacturing sectors and build economic development opportunities for Indigenous partners.

About Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.

Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development company specializing in sustainably-produced materials for clean technology. The Company now has four advanced stage projects, providing investors with exposure to lithium, tin and indium, as well as rare earth elements, tantalum, cesium and zirconium. Avalon is currently focusing on developing its Separation Rapids Lithium Project near Kenora, Ontario while looking at several new project opportunities, including re-activating its 100%-owned Lilypad Tantalum-Cesium Project in northwestern Ontario. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.