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President Joe Biden hosts a virtual roundtable on securing critical minerals at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2022.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Digging deep: US military buys into Canadian mining

The US military is sinking nearly $15 million into the Canadian mining sector through the Defense Production Act in what is believed to be the first time in the DPA’s 74-year history that the US has used such funds outside the country.

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual roundtable on securing critical minerals at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2022.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US and Canada strike up first critical minerals partnership

Speaking of China,the US and Canada are taking their efforts to compete with Beijing underground – literally. The Pentagon on Thursday announced it would invest $15 million in two early-stage mines in Canada looking to dig for “critical minerals” that are considered essential for national security.

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Artistic rendering of Canada with periodic table of critical minerals

Luisa Vieira

Why Biden and Trudeau struggle to deliver critical minerals

When Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson unveiled Canada’s critical minerals strategy last year, he emphasized the crucial link between building mines and reducing carbon emissions.

“It cannot take us 12 to 15 years to open a mine in this country,” he said. “Not if we want to achieve our climate goals.”

In fact, though, Wilkinson was understating the problem. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the average turnaround time for opening a mine in Canada — from discovery to production — is nearly 18 years. Things are not that much faster in the United States, where the average is 13 years.

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Greenpeace activists hold a protest demanding an end to deep-sea mining in Prague, Czech Republic.

REUTERS/David W Cerny

Jamaica hosts deep-sea mining talks

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Nauru wants to find out. The tiny Pacific island nation is trying to convince the global community to grant it permission to mine precious metals hidden deep beneath the oceans.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives at Hiroshima Airport in Japan.

Kohei Choji/The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect

Ahead of G-7, Canada seeks cooperation in Asia

Trudeau landed in Hiroshima on Thursday to discuss global security, economic resilience, climate change, and energy with the other G-7 leaders. As in South Korea, Canada’s top business priority is likely to be seeking markets for critical minerals.

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A Canadian soldier holds a flag as they wait for the arrival of PM Justin Trudeau along with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Adazi, Latvia.

REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

What We’re Watching: NATO (still) wants Canada to pay up, critical mineral gold rush, a tale of two banks

Canada is a NATO laggard – but it’s far from alone

The aging defense league is finding a new raison d’etre battling Russian aggression in Ukraine. But Canada still falls short of the 2% GDP military spending goal that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said is set “not as a ceiling but a floor, a minimum, that we should all meet.”

A recent NATO report estimates that Canada’s share of defense spending declined against its GDP to 1.27% in 2022, down from 1.32% in 2021 and well shy of the 2% target. Several members spend less than the target, but Canada falls toward the mid-to-bottom of that list.

In 2022, the US topped the list at 3.47% of GDP. The US routinely nudges Canada to spend more on defense. Last month, its ambassador to Canada said he was “hopeful” the country would hit the NATO target.

Canada has no plan to reach the 2% target, and its latest budget is still light on defense spending. But the government does tout that it has the sixth-largest NATO defense budget and is a top contributor to the alliance’s common fund. Canada also spent billions on new fighter jets and is making investments in northern and continental defense. NATO doesn’t penalize states that don’t hit the 2% target – and it’s hard to imagine Canada getting thrown out of the club, so all it can do is name and shame in the hope that Canada starts to pull its weight.

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David Himbert / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

Podcast: How healthy is the US-Canada relationship?


Listen: On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer delves into the current status of the US-Canada relationship. In a nutshell: it's going well — definitely a lot better than under Donald Trump — but not all smooth sailing.

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Canada has lower risk appetite than the US, says think tank chief
Canada has lower risk appetite than the US, says think tank chief | US-Canada Summit | GZERO Media

Canada has lower risk appetite than the US, says think tank chief

At the US-Canada Summit in Toronto, GZERO's Tony Maciulis asks Chris Sands, head of the Wilson Center's Canada Institute, for his biggest takeaway from the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

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