Feds and Quebec invest in Quebec battery materials plant

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The federal and Quebec government have announced financial support for the first cathode active materials (CAM) facility to be operational in Canada, to be built by a joint venture between General Motors (GM) and POSCO in Bécancour, Quebec.

The support is worth close to half the cost of the electric vehicle battery materials plant, according to the Globe and Mail. a project valued at more than $600 million,

Cathode active materials consist of components such as processed nickel, lithium and other materials that make up about 40% of the cost of a battery. The federal government is investing through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative to support GM-POSCO’s more than $600-million project.

The GM-POSCO joint venture, called Ultium CAM, which is expected to create around 200 jobs, adds to Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. The investment represents a return of General Motors Canada to Quebec, following the closure of its assembly plant in Sainte-Thérèse in 2002. The batteries produced in Bécancour will power GM’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and GMC Hummer EV, contributing to GM’s plans to produce one million electric vehicles in North America by the end of 2025.

“Quebec’s battery sector is up and running. This is a historic investment by GM and POSCO. Thanks to its natural resources, talent and renewable energy, Quebec is attracting the giants of the electrification industry We will be announcing additional transformative projects shortly,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy.

The investment in Bécancour-based CAM production is an important step in building a more secure and resilient North America-focused supply chain to support GM’s EV production needs and this site offers room to grow for the JV and its partners in the future, said Sham Kunjur, GM’s executive director for EV Raw Materials’ Center of Excellence.

“GM started by establishing battery cell production in the U.S. From there, we have been working through the entire battery supply chain, all the way to raw material recovery. We’re building higher levels of vertical integration, driving expanded investment and helping create jobs across North America,” Kunjur added.

Since early 2022, the federal government along with the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have attracted large anchor investments in battery material processing and cell manufacturing to support Canada’s shift to a net-zero economy and position Canada as a global electric vehicle supply chain leader.

“Canada has everything it needs to be a global leader in battery manufacturing: access to global markets, a highly talented workforce, clean energy, world-leading innovation and all the critical mineral resources necessary to make batteries. This investment in GM-POSCO’s new facility in Bécancour will help further position Quebec as a key hub in Canada’s growing EV supply chain. This investment is good for the environment and for the economy, and it will ensure well-paying jobs for years to come,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

In 2022, Canada’s automotive manufacturing sector contributed nearly $14 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employed over 125,000 Canadians. In its Budget 2023, the federal Liberal government announced $500 million over ten years to the Strategic Innovation Fund to support the development and application of clean technologies. The Strategic Innovation Fund will also direct up to $1.5 billion of its existing resources toward projects in clean technologies, critical minerals and industrial transformation

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