Umicore’s multibillion-dollar investment in Canada accelerates EV ambitions

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In a strategic move that underscores Canada's commitment to electrifying its automotive landscape, Umicore Rechargeable Battery Materials Canada Inc. has inked a monumental deal with the Governments of Canada and Ontario. The Belgian circular materials technology behemoth is set to establish a cutting-edge manufacturing plant in Loyalist Township, Ontario. This ambitious venture will see the production of cathode active materials (CAM) and precursor cathode active materials (pCAM), critical components in the electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing process.

With an overall eligible cost envelope of up to a staggering $2.761 billion, the project is poised to be executed in multiple phases. Umicore has formally declared its initial investment of $2.1 billion, including $1.8 billion earmarked for capital expenditures, to enable a battery materials production capacity of 35 GWh annually during the first phase.

"Canada has everything it needs to be a global leader in the green economy: access to global markets, a talented workforce, clean energy, world-leading innovation ecosystems, and all the critical mineral resources necessary to make EV batteries. This is the reason why Umicore has chosen Canada and Loyalist Township as the place to build its new electric vehicle battery materials plant, one that will produce green battery components. This project will bring great economic benefits to Ontario and create well-paying jobs for Canadians, and it is strengthening Canada’s position as the green supplier of choice." – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, affirmed.

The Government of Canada is displaying a robust commitment to this pioneering initiative, pledging an investment of up to $551.3 million, while the Government of Ontario is contributing up to $424.6 million. These substantial investments will not only accelerate Canada's EV sector growth but also cultivate a thriving domestic EV supply chain while generating high-quality employment opportunities.

"Umicore’s investment represents another strong vote of confidence in our rapidly growing electric vehicle and battery supply chain. Together, with our government, industry, and labor partners, we’re putting our auto sector back on the map, attracting billions of dollars in new investments, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and ensuring the cars of the future will be made in Ontario, from start to finish." – The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, emphasised.

One of the most striking aspects of Umicore's venture is its unwavering focus on sustainability. Leveraging Canada's abundant clean energy resources, the facility is expected to boast near carbon neutrality from the outset of production. This aligns seamlessly with Canada's ambitious target of achieving 100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035, a crucial step in reaching the nation's net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Beyond the creation of direct job opportunities, the project will also provide 700 co-op positions for students, a testament to Umicore's dedication to nurturing local talent and fostering innovation within the region and the province.

"Umicore’s investment in Loyalist Township will further integrate Eastern Ontario into the province’s thriving end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain. This new investment will create more well-paying jobs for workers in the region and across the province. Our job is far from over as we work to create the right conditions for businesses and workers to succeed. Thank you, Umicore, for reaffirming your trust in Ontario." – The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, added.

With the capacity to manufacture battery materials for over 800,000 EVs annually, while utilising Canadian critical minerals like nickel, lithium, and cobalt, Umicore's groundbreaking facility is poised to revolutionise the North American EV battery materials market. This development represents a significant stride toward Canada's aspiration of becoming a global leader in the responsible and sustainable production of critical minerals and EVs, spanning the entire value chain from mining to manufacturing.

"Umicore is proud of, and delighted with, the unwavering support and financial backing of Canada and Ontario. Their readiness to co-fund our investment coupled with the announcement of our first customer contract for the Loyalist plant mean we can forge ahead with the construction. We are committed to being a reliable transformation partner for the automotive and battery industry and a trustworthy neighbor for communities in Ontario." – Mathias Miedreich, CEO, Umicore, concluded.

Umicore's resolute commitment to sustainable materials production, coupled with its significant investment in Ontario, signals a bright and electrifying future for the province's EV supply chain. Moreover, it underscores Canada's steadfast determination to emerge as a global leader in green technology. This collaborative endeavor signifies the unwavering dedication of both governmental bodies and private enterprises to create a sustainable and prosperous future.

Quick Facts:

  • Umicore is a circular materials technology company specialising in emissions reduction, pioneering mobility transformation, and championing the circularity of critical metals.
  • The facility's first phase will produce an annual output of 35 GWh worth of battery materials.
  • Cathode active materials and precursor cathode active materials represent approximately 50% of the total value of an EV battery and encompass essential critical minerals such as nickel, lithium, and cobalt.
  • Canada is resolutely committed to achieving 100% ZEV sales by 2035, thereby supporting the nation's pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Canada's 2023 budget has allocated $500 million over 10 years to the Strategic Innovation Fund, bolstering the development and application of clean technologies.
  • In just three years, Ontario has successfully attracted over $26 billion in automotive and EV-related investments, cementing its status as a key player in North America's automotive industry.
  • Umicore already has an established presence in Ontario, with its precious metals business in Markham and emissions catalyst business in Burlington.

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