Belgium-based Umicore will invest more than US$1.1 billion (CAN$1.5 billion) to build a first-of-its-kind cathode and precursor material manufacturing facility in eastern Ontario .
Covering approximately 350 acres in Loyalist Township, construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with commissioning scheduled for late 2025. The project will create jobs for around 1,000 people during the construction phase and will employ several hundred people once it is operational.
“Canada and Ontario have everything Umicore needs to build a fully-fledged, sustainable battery materials supply chain, from the mine to the electric vehicle end market. Once key customer deals are in place, this North American expansion would complete our global rollout of regional supply chains for our automotive and battery cell customers across three continents,” said Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore. “In addition, we are extremely grateful to the governments of Canada and Ontario for their support and willingness to co-fund this proposed project. The facility will support Canada and Umicore in their shared goal of achieving a carbon neutral battery supply chain.”
The Umicore facility will support Ontario’s vision to build an end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain in the province and become a North American hub for building the cars of the future. The company will build a near-carbon neutral facility to manufacture cathode-active materials (CAM) and cathode-active precursor materials (pCAM), components critical to the production of EV batteries. The investment represents an important step towards Ontario’s goal of developing a vertically integrated battery supply chain in the province capable of supporting large-scale production of electric vehicles in North America.
The Umicore plant would be the first of its kind on an industrial scale to combine the production of pCAM and CAM in the same plant. Cathodes account for about 50 percent of an EV battery’s value and contain important critical minerals such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium. The Eastern Ontario facility would further link the mineral sector in Northern Ontario with electric vehicle manufacturing in the South. Each component of the battery supply chain plays an important and interrelated role in the production of electric vehicles.
“Today is another perfect example that our plan to rebuild Ontario’s auto industry is gaining momentum and will bring tremendous benefits to communities,” said Premier Doug Ford Maintain and strengthen the automotive manufacturing powerhouse. Umicore plans to bring this part of the EV supply chain to Ontario, which will continue to transform our automotive sector and create good jobs.”
At full production, the plant will produce annual quantities of cathode material sufficient to make batteries for one million battery electric vehicles – nearly 20 percent of total North American EV production by the end of the decade. Umicore’s facility will leverage Ontario’s clean power system, which was more than 90 percent zero-emissions in 2021. Ontario is also developing a Clean Energy Credit (CEC) registry, which will allow companies like Umicore to voluntarily purchase CECs to demonstrate that all of their electricity was sourced from zero-emission resources.
“This important investment by Umicore will position Ontario as a North American leader in this high-value segment of the EV supply chain and further connect the minerals sector in northern Ontario with EV manufacturing in the south,” said Vic Fedeli, Secretary of Economic Development, Job Creation and trade. “With its recent success in attracting large investments to the province, our Ontario government is laying claim to the development and construction of the batteries that will power the vehicles of the future.”
This investment in Eastern Ontario accelerates the province’s 10-year vision for the Driving Prosperity ― The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector to plan. Announced in November 2021, Phase 2 of Driving Prosperity demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to transforming the province’s automotive supply chain to build the cars of the future, including hybrid and full battery electric vehicle production, EV battery and component production and increasing exports of Ontario-made auto parts and innovations.
This project is also strategically aligned with the Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy announced in March 2022. This strategy will strengthen Ontario’s supply chains, attract new investment in the mining and manufacturing sectors, and create economic development opportunities for Indigenous partners.
Since 2020, Ontario has attracted nearly $14 billion in investment in auto manufacturing, with upgrades and new technology for facilities across the province. This includes more than $11 billion in investments in electric vehicles and EVs. The province is also the only jurisdiction in North America with five major global automakers — Ford, General Motors, Honda, Stellantis and Toyota — as well as truck maker Hino.