Ottawa has signed a memorandum of understanding with global metals refining giant Umicore to build a C$1.5-billion electric vehicle battery materials plant in Loyalist Township outside Kingston, Ontario.
The new plant will supply cathode active materials (CAM) and precursor cathode active materials (pCAM) for up to a million electric vehicles per year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told media the investment generate 1,000 new jobs during construction, and offer hundreds of long-term positions once it is up and running, reports the CBC News.
Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said plant will be the first industrial-scale manufacturing facility of its kind in North America.
“With recent success attracting major investments to the province, our government is staking Ontario’s claim to developing and building the batteries that will power vehicles of the future,” Fedeli said.
“The plant will be built with some financial support from both levels of government, but a dollar figure wasn’t immediately available,” writes CBC.
Signing the MOU with Ottawa means Umicore will be able to offset some of the sizable construction costs of building the plant.
The Belgium-based company has already secured an agreement for the 140-hectare plant site. Construction is scheduled to start next year, and is expected to conclude by the end of 2025.
The Ottawa-Umicore deal is further good news for Canada’s “long-stagnant” auto sector, writes CBC, adding that “carmakers General Motors, Honda, and Stellantis, the company that makes Jeep and Chrysler vehicles, have also promised recently to spend billions of dollars in the coming years to build battery and electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in Ontario.”
The auto sector supports nearly 500,000 jobs, produces $16 billion per year, and is one of Canada’s biggest export industries, CBC says.