Umicore wants to manufacture cathode materials in Canada


Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore is planning its first factory in North America for series production of cathode and precursor materials for electric car batteries. It is to be built in the community of the faithful in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Umicore aims to start construction in 2023 and start operations in late 2025. By the end of the decade, the annual production capacity of about one million electric vehicles is to be reached. A letter of intent was also signed with the Canadian government, according to which the project is to be funded as part of the Strategic Innovation Fund.

According to Umicore, this investment represents “the final step in establishing a truly global production presence with fully integrated battery materials value chains” to help its customers rapidly transition to sustainable electromobility.

Umicore says it is already negotiating purchase agreements with several potential customers in North America — this formed the basis for the investment decision. Umicore did not name partners in the announcement, but all major carmakers and battery cell makers are currently announcing projects for North America – from Ford and GM to Stelantis as well as LGES, SK On and Panasonic Cell. Towards.

Faithful is a small community not far from Kingston, near Lake Ontario. Despite its rural location, Loyalist is connected by major highways to Toronto and Detroit in the west and Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec in the east. The Belgian group sees access to “highly qualified workers” and cites the availability of renewable energy, in addition to transport infrastructure, to enable the plant to operate entirely with green electricity from the start.

Umicore will also explore metal refining and battery recycling opportunities in North America. Umicore is in talks with a number of potential customers for production contracts in North America, which form the basis for the final investment decision.

For Canada, Umicore’s (potential) agreement joins a long list of battery projects. As announced in March, BASF is also planning a cathode material factory, but in the province of Quebec. Stelantis and LGES are building a battery cell and module factory in Windsor, Ontario, and Magna is assembling the battery housing in Ontario. BASF and Canadian battery developer Nano One also want to jointly develop the cathode material.

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