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Mar 05

Mission Critical: Securing a North American Rare Earths Value Chain

Toronto ON, 67 Yonge Street, Suite 300

Roundtable Luncheon on securing a North American rare earths value chain

Sponsored by:

C.D. Howe Institute events and webinars are open to members and their guests.

Please follow this link or contact events@cdhowe.org to register.

Critical minerals are foundational to the green economy, advanced technologies, and our supply chain resilience. 

Global demand for minerals is set to skyrocket over the next several decades with the green transition, and Canada is seeing investment across the value chain from US and European players in exploration, mining, processing, manufacturing, and recycling. 
Meanwhile, China has a huge lead in the sector and the rest of the world is dependent on Chinese-controlled sources of both raw and processed forms of these strategic materials. As an example, Heavy Rare Earth Elements – essential to manufacture permanent magnet motors for electric vehicle drivetrains and more – can currently only be sourced via Chinese state-controlled entities.
Both Canada and the US recognize the necessity of creating a secure North American value chain. This will require increased public-private collaboration and accelerated implementation of critical minerals strategies. With strategic private sector investment coupled with government funding, North America can rival China globally in mining, refining, and manufacturing of these critical materials. The panel participants will explore how key environmental, economic, technology, and national security incentives can enable Canada and the US to build integrated, resilient North American critical minerals supply chains.

Chris Davy, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, U.S. Department of State 

Chris Davy is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the U.S. Department of State, where he leads U.S. efforts to strengthen energy security, promote energy decarbonization, and increase energy access. Previously, he was the Director of Energy Diplomacy for the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Chris has also previously served as Director for Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Energy Resources, where he directed U.S. international energy policy analysis to respond to energy challenges from around the world that affected U.S. economic policy and national security. Mr. Davy served as the U.S. representative and board member to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and as an alternate to the U.S. Department of State’s representative to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Mr. Davy is a member of the Senior Foreign Service and has served overseas in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama. Mr. Davy is a distinguished graduate of the National War College, and received an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA from Lehigh University. Mr. Davy served as a U.S. Army officer and deployed in support of Operation Joint Endeavor in the Balkans and supported the NATO Operation Allied Force in Kosovo.

Jeff Labonté, Associate Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada

Jeff Labonté was named Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada in July 2023. Formerly at NRCan, Jeff was Special Advisor to the Associate Deputy Minister on Decarbonization; Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Minerals Sector; Assistant Deputy Minister, Major Projects Management Office; Director General, Energy Safety and Security Branch and International Energy; and Director General, Petroleum Resources Branch in the Energy Sector. He has also held senior executive positions at the Geological Survey of Canada and the National Mapping Agency.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and political science, as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Carleton University. He has also completed the Public Sector Leadership and Governance program at the University of Ottawa.

Abigail Hunter, Executive Director, SAFE’s Center for Critical Minerals Strategy

Abigail Hunter is currently serving as the Executive Director of SAFE’s Ambassador Alfred Hoffman Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy (Minerals Center). Previously, Abigail served as Director of International Affairs and Partnerships within the Minerals Center. In this role, she nurtured existing and new SAFE partnerships to advance sustainable and ethical supply chains amongst allies and like-minded countries for the future minerals-based global economy. 
Before joining SAFE full time, Hunter headed federal government affairs for Quebec for nearly three years as the senior attachée in Washington, D.C. Dubbed a climate action youth leader for her work, Hunter's mandate focused on the energy, environment, and trade relationship between the province and United States. 
Hunter started her career at the National Governors Association, where she led the association’s international engagement.  
In 2023, Hunter graduated summa cum laude from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies with a Master's in Sustainable Energy. Her four-part capstone on aluminum's clean energy paradox was published by the SAFE Center for Strategic Industrial Metals. She received her Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University with a double major in International Management and Managing for Sustainability. 

John Gallagher, Managing Director, Cerberus Capital Management 

John Gallagher is a Managing Director of Cerberus’ Supply Chain and Strategic Opportunities Fund, which invests in businesses driving next-generation technologies and capabilities that advance supply chain integrity. He has extensive experience working across the U.S. interagency, intelligence community, and industry and has advised multiple senior military and civilian leaders on U.S. strategic plans and policy. Mr. Gallagher served as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) which advises the White House on top national security priorities. Following nearly 30 years in the U.S. Army, Mr. Gallagher was Chief Executive Officer of a non-governmental organization working in the Middle East and Asia. Prior, he was an advisor to several 4-star military commanders including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the Pentagon, the Commander of U.S. Central Command, and the Commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Gallagher was a White House Fellow and a Director at the National Security Council. A former airborne infantry officer and Army strategist, he graduated from West Point and holds two master’s degrees with distinction from The University of Chicago, in public policy and political science. At West Point, Mr. Gallagher taught American politics and was the Director of the Academy’s Rhodes Scholarship program. He is the recipient of numerous military awards including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (Service-Afghanistan), and Presidential Service Badge. Most recently, he received the 2023 Impact Award from the White House Fellowship Foundation.

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