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Umicore prepares to construct battery materials production plant in Canada

Regional website Canada

Umicore plans to construct a manufacturing facility for cathode active battery materials (CAM) and their precursor materials (pCAM) in Ontario, Canada. For Umicore this investment represents the final step in establishing a truly global production presence with battery material value chains that are regionally fully integrated to support its customers in their fast transformation towards sustainable electric mobility.

The planned facility would be the first of its kind in North America, combining cathode and precursor materials manufacturing at a large industrial scale and thereby completing the missing link in Canada’s battery value chain, from natural resources to electric mobility. Umicore is in negotiations with several potential customers for production contracts in North America. This will form the basis for Umicore's investment decision and underlines its commitment to value creative returns.

Today, Umicore and the Government of Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to finalize the support application of the project under the Strategic Innovation Fund. This MoU follows a recently signed agreement with Loyalist Township to secure a plot of land of about 350 acres in Loyalist, Ontario, to this effect. The location, in the center of Canada’s automotive eco-system, offers critical advantages such as access to a highly skilled workforce, key infrastructure and renewable energy, which the new plant will be running on 100% from start of production.

Umicore is targeting to start construction in 2023 and operations at the end of 2025 with the potential to reach by the end of the decade an annual production capacity capable of powering approximately one million EVs.

Umicore will also explore opportunities for metals refining and battery recycling in North America, to offer its customers in the region secure and circular access to critical battery materials and - in line with its earlier announced ambition to establish a regional presence in North America - across the CAM value chain.

“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.

Once the key customer contracts are in place, this expansion in North America would complete our global rollout of regional supply chains for our automotive and battery cell customers to now three continents.”

Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore

“Moreover, we are most grateful to the Canadian and Ontario governments for their support and for their readiness to co-fund this planned project. The facility will help Canada and Umicore in their shared objective of achieving a carbon-neutral battery supply chain.”

“Today’s announcement is about creating jobs, cutting pollution, and building a stronger, cleaner economy for Canadians. Umicore’s intention to establish its new facility in Loyalist Township is another major step forward as we make Canada a global leader in producing electric vehicles – from minerals to manufacturing. With over 1,000 good jobs to build the plant, and hundreds of permanent positions once it is up and running, this new facility will play an important role in Canada’s clean automotive sector well into the future,” said the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

“Canada is leading the world when it comes to the jobs of the future in the low carbon economy. Today’s announcement with Umicore builds on recent investments that our government has made to build a thriving EV battery supply chain in Canada. We’re ensuring a strong and resilient economy, while also creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs right across the country,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“Today is another perfect example that our plan to rebuild Ontario’s auto industry is gaining speed and will deliver huge wins for communities,” said Premier Doug Ford. “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.”

“This important investment by Umicore will turn Ontario into a North American leader in this high-value segment of the EV supply chain and further connect Northern Ontario’s mineral sector to EV manufacturing in the south,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “With recent success attracting major investments to the province, our government is staking Ontario's claim to developing and building the batteries that will power vehicles of the future.”

Today, Umicore serves its battery materials customers in Europe through its cathode precursor and cobalt refining plant in Kokkola, Finland, and its battery materials plant in Nysa, Poland, which is the continent’s first industrial-scale cathode materials plant. In Asia, Umicore serves its customers from its plants in Jiangmen, China, and Cheonan, Korea. As part of its Let’s go for Zero ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ambitions, Umicore aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. Access to renewable energy across its sites is a key lever to reaching this goal. Moreover, Umicore aims to become the leading supplier of low-carbon battery materials, driving decarbonization through its unique positioning in the battery value chain.