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Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration Program – Program funding opportunity information

Funding application status: Closed

Are you developing technologies that will help produce critical minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, manganese, vanadium and rare earth elements? Is your technology well advanced? Does it need a final push before it can be put in production or commercialized? Is your end product intended for net-zero vehicles? If so, this funding program is for you.

About the program

The Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration Program aims to advance the commercial readiness of emerging mineral processing unit operations or technologies that will support the development of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) value chains in Canada by providing raw material inputs for use in batteries and permanent magnets.

The focus of this program is the upstream processing for raw materials that can be used as inputs in selected critical mineral value chains, including efficiency value chains; economic improvements to unit operations; and health and safety considerations in those particular mineral production flowsheets.

Production of these raw materials can stem from primary (i.e., ore deposits) or secondary sources. Secondary sources include mine wastes (e.g., tailings) and recycling of electronic wastes.

Pilot studies will be considered for both full flowsheets (demonstrations) and designated circuits, but at the level of funding indicated, it is anticipated that most funding applications will focus on circuits.

Funding applications must demonstrate that preliminary tests are of sufficient scale, duration and feed rate to fully address all key design issues, including temperature, impurity build-up, water recycling, reagent addition and energy intensity, and will ultimately provide fundamental flowsheet design information to clearly establish reproducibility, material handling issues, safety, and capital and operational expenditure implications.

Program objectives

What we aim to do

The program aims to provide funding to critical mineral projects in order to improve the feasibility of producing or commercializing their novel technologies and innovative process designs, and support the enhanced environmental and social performance of their production methods. Examples of expected project outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved capital and/or operating costs of critical mineral production through enhanced unit processes, novel processes or new flowsheets that curtail baseline or traditional processing methods
  • Production of critical minerals using a novel process from an unconventional source such as tailings, recycled waste, slag, dross or other secondary sources
  • Reduced energy or carbon intensity, or other environmental performance improvement in a critical mineral processing flowsheet or unit operation

How we aim to do it

  • Provide funding to advance technological solutions for the production of critical minerals. The funding is going to be in the form of a non-reimbursable contribution.
  • Contribute to project costs until March 2024.

Want to apply for funding?

We are looking for technologies that:

  • Help Canada produce key critical minerals
  • Are well advanced
  • Need a financial contribution to continue their development


  • Your technology is at the technology readiness level (TRL) 6-7-8.
  • Your technology will produce key critical minerals (e.g., lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, manganese, vanadium, rare earth elements).
  • Your technology aims to support the development of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) value chains in Canada by providing raw material inputs for use in batteries and permanent magnets.

Eligibility and deadlines

Deadline to apply: This call for proposals is now closed.

Who can apply?

Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:

  • For-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as mining companies, industry associations and research associations
  • Indigenous organizations and groups
  • Canadian post-secondary institutions

Amount available

Up to CAD 5,000,000

Which projects are eligible?

NRCan is looking for well-advanced technologies that need a final push to be commercialized or put into production. Projects will be funded until the end of March 2024.

Eligible expenses

Admissible costs to realize a demonstration project or a pilot plant include, but are not limited to:

  • Salaries
  • Professional, scientific, technical and contracting services
  • Travel expenditures
  • Capital expenditures
  • Data collection services, including processing, analysis and management

Selection process

The program has a two-phase selection process:

  • Phase 1 — Letter of interest (L.O.I.)

    Applicants will develop a succinct proposal that will permit NRCan to select the most promising projects and invite the applicants of these projects to develop a full project proposal.

  • Phase 2 — Full project proposal (FPP)

    NRCan will communicate with the selected applicants directly to invite them to develop an FPP. Upon reception of the FPPs, NRCan will proceed with final selection, due diligence and contribution agreements.

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