Exclusive: Canada invests C $ 2 billion in minerals strategy for battery supply chain for EV

Ottawa, April 4 (Reuters) – Canada’s federal budget will include at least $ 2 billion ($ 1.6 billion) in strategies to accelerate the production and recycling of important minerals needed to supply electric vehicle batteries (EV). ). – said high-ranking government sources.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which is due to release its budget on Thursday, will make investments to increase extraction of important minerals including nickel, lithium, cobalt and magnesium, sources familiar with the matter said were not authorized to speak out. record.

The investment may be spread over more than a year, but sources declined to comment on the time.

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Last month, Canada announced financial support for the construction of two facilities that will produce materials for batteries for electric vehicles, and one gig plant for the production of batteries, but so far no agreements have been announced on the extraction or processing of minerals. read on

“There are some specific projects that we are considering and that we are currently working on,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a recent telephone interview with Reuters.

All potential projects, whether mining or processing, need to be significantly accelerated, and this will be the most important strategy in the field of minerals, “he added.

Canada’s Treasury Department has declined to confirm whether there will be an investment in the budget to be presented by Treasury Secretary Christy Freeland in the House of Commons.

“Canada has many valuable mineral deposits, and with the right investment, the sector can create thousands of new good jobs, grow our economy and make Canada a vital part of the world’s growing mineral industry,” said Adrienne Vaupshas, ​​a Freeland spokeswoman.

There is a “lot of active discussion” between the Canadian government and companies about the need to accelerate and increase production of raw materials used in EV batteries, one source said.

Canada, home to a major mining sector, has a multibillion-dollar fund set up to invest in green technology, and is trying to attract companies involved at all levels of the EV supply chain to protect the future of its Ontario manufacturing center as the world seeks to reduce emissions carbon dioxide.

Ontario is geographically close to U.S. automakers in Michigan and Ohio, and General Motors Co. (GM.N), Ford Motor Co. (FN) and Stellantis NV (STLA.MI) have announced plans to produce electric vehicles at plants in the Canadian province.


Since opening new mines could take years – even a decade or more, Wilkinson said some of the projects under consideration include “tails from existing mines from which important minerals could be extracted.”

“We look at brines and oil sands, ponds and all that,” he said.

Brendan Marshall, vice president of economic and northern affairs for the Mining Association of Canada, said such a project would require research.

“Research and development is needed” to develop technologies that can identify and separate critical minerals from the general waste stream, ”Marshall said.

Canada’s most important mineral strategy will focus, among other things, on advancing research, innovation and exploration, one source said.

GM said Monday it is investing C $ 2 billion in two plants, including one that will produce an electric vehicle for commercial use in Canada. Last month, GM said it had partnered with South Korean company POSCO Chemical (005490.KS) to build a battery plant in Quebec. read on

Scott Bell, president and managing director of GM Canada, said last month that the abundance of nickel and other raw materials in Canada would be used to produce cathode active material in the Canadian province, without specifying.

“These companies will need the most important minerals in our country, so we must start actively increasing the necessary mining and processing,” said Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne in Vancouver last week.

Demand for minerals needed for batteries, including lithium and cobalt, could grow by almost 500% by 2050, according to the World Bank. Currently, Asia, and in particular China, dominates the world production and processing of important minerals, rare earths and rare metals used to produce EV.

Konstantin Karayanapoulos, president and CEO of Neo Performance Materials Inc (NEO.TO), a Toronto-based rare earth and rare metals processing company, said Canada and North America need to catch up.

“We are behind the G8 in the West, behind China,” Karaianapoulos said in a telephone interview. “China dominates this space … We need a lot of money (to build a supply chain) because we are playing catch-up.”

(1 dollar = 1.2517 Canadian dollars)

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Report by Steve Sherr Edited by Paul Simaa

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