The North American Arctic has a great potential to work together to build green, connected, smart, and climate resilient transportation infrastructure that will foster local economic growth and well-being at home and connect the region to domestic and international markets. To do so requires building multi-purpose and multi-user infrastructure that will fulfill the social, economic, and defence needs in the region. It also requires creating Public-Private-Indigenous- Partnerships to help attract private capital and ensure Indigenous equity ownership.  


The North American Arctic has the critical minerals that the world wants and needs in global transition to the renewable energy economy. Canada’s soon to be completed Critical Mineral Strategy will be the first of its kind for Canada and a bold statement about the role that Canada intends to play on the global stage in the transition to the net zero energy economy. Yet the Strategy is only the beginning of a decades long process to come and will only grow exponentially in importance in the years to come. The opportunities to strengthen cooperation with Greenland and our other circumpolar neighbours are many. Greenland is currently building the required infrastructure for its own critical mineral’s economy. As very close geographical neighbours with strong cultural connections there is an opportunity to think about the potential strategic benefits in building regional east-west Arctic supply chains (thus growing the market share of the world’s supply). The Mining Association of Canada is working with our Arctic neighbours to create a shared set of expected sustainable mining practices and expectations with the specific goal to create a consistent Arctic standard for responsible mining. 

The globe has tilted. The Arctic is longer a half visible periphery at the top of the globe. Arctic geopolitics and now front and centre of global politics. The war in Ukraine has upended the political peace and the Arctic Council along with it. Yet, ongoing geopolitical realities have also become a source of renewed motivation to strengthen a multitude of political cooperations and to forger new institution building among like-minded Arctic nations. Charting a changed Arctic political landscape requires vision, planning, and political leadership and political cooperation around the Arctic from the Nordic to the North American Arctic including bi-lateral, subregional and subnational cooperation.   


Innovative critical infrastructure able to address the Arctic’s unique challenges is not only possible but- as Canada’s circumpolar neighbours demonstrate – the Arctic has a critical role to play in creating and advancing new technologies and producing the resources that are of global interest and relevance. This includes everything from airship to zero emission transportation, datacentres, SMART cables, automated vehicles and ships, as well as the roads and port infrastructure required to serve them. Add to that, the region’s abundance of natural resources including the critical minerals necessary for the transition to the global renewable energy economy.  

Greenland and Canada are neighbours in the Arctic, and they share much in the way of cultural ties. They also share an abundance of natural resources – especially critical minerals. The rest of the world has taken notice, as more and more countries look North in search of economic opportunity via increasingly viable shipping lanes, and newly accessible resources, particularly those that are needed for the global transition to the net-zero energy economy. Amidst all this however, is a persistent, shared gap in critical infrastructure. Strengthening diplomacy and political leadership have important roles to play, as does building greater business ties, and people to people to cooperation.  

“I attended the Arctic360 conference two years ago and I was absolutely fascinated by the people in the room and the desire and a determination to really work closely with us in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Canada but also your real commitment to learn and to understand and be more involved. That was one of real takeaways that I had at the gathering at that time. So, when the invitation came this time, I said wow I would love to do that again.”

— Yvonne, Jones, Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs, MP Labrador, 2021

Strengthening the
North American Arctic

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