Materials firm Umicore and the Government of Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to finalise plans to build a lithium-ion cathode active battery materials (CAM) and precursor materials (pCAM) manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada.
The MoU sets out the government’s plans to support application of the project under the Strategic Innovation Fund.
Spanning about 350 acres, the plant is due to be commissioned in 2023 with full operations planned for the end of 2025.
Belgium-headquartered Umicore aims to establish a global production presence using regional production hubs within localised battery material value chains.
Umicore is in negotiations with potential customers for production contracts in North America that will form the basis for its investment decision.
This MoU follows an agreement with Loyalist Township to secure a plot of land in Loyalist, Ontario.
Umicore will also explore opportunities for metals refining and battery recycling in North America.
Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore, said: “Canada and the Ontario province have all it takes for Umicore to establish a full-fledged, sustainable supply chain for battery materials, all the way from the mine right to the end-market of electric vehicles.
“The facility will help Canada and Umicore in their shared objective of achieving a carbon-neutral battery supply chain.”
Premier of Ontario Doug Ford said: “Today is another perfect example that our plan to rebuild Ontario’s auto industry is gaining speed and will deliver huge wins for communities.
“Ontario has everything it needs, up and down our homegrown supply chain, to remain and strengthen its position as a North American auto manufacturing powerhouse. Umicore plans to bring this part of the EV supply chain to Ontario which will continue to transform our auto sector and create good jobs.”
Umicore has a cathode precursor and cobalt refining plant in Kokkola, Finland, and an industrial-scale cathode materials plant in Nysa, Poland. In Asia, Umicore has plants in Jiangmen, China, and Cheonan, Korea.
Canada’s battery ambitions
In March, German chemicals firm BASF signed an agreement to secure land for a planned lithium-ion battery CAM and recycling site in Canada.
The site in Bécancour, Quebec will allow the firm to increase output to 100 kt CAM per year with potential for fully integrated precursor cathode active materials (PCAM) supply.
The company will target battery manufacturing markets in the US, Canada, Mexico and “beyond” with materials from the planned facility.
Also in March, Vehicle OEM General Motors and South Korean materials firm POSCO Chemical announced they would work with the governments of Canada and Quebec to build a CAM facility also in Bécancour.
The $400 million facility will produce CAM for GM’s Ultium batteries, which will power its electric vehicles.
The announcement followed the companies plans to form a CAM processing joint venture majority owned by POSCO Chemical.
And Vehicle maker Stellantis N.V. and battery producer LG Energy Solution (LGES) have signed a deal to establish a 45GWh lithium-ion manufacturing facility in Canada.
A joint venture (JV) company will invest more than CAD$5 billion ($4.1 billion) to establish operations, which will include a battery manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario.
Plant construction is scheduled to begin later this year with production operations planned to launch in the first quarter of 2024.
In February, Canada-based Electra Battery Materials Corporation signed a five-year cobalt contract and amended the previously concluded cobalt hydroxide feed purchase agreement with Anglo-Swiss mining firm Glencore.
The aim is to produce a traceable, low carbon battery grade cobalt sulphate for the electric vehicle market beginning in Q4 of this year.