Eastern Ontario Joins the Province’s Electric Vehicle Revolution with Groundbreaking Investment in Battery Materials Manufacturing

KINGSTON — Umicore plans to invest $1.5 billion to build a first industrial-scale cathode and precursor materials manufacturing facility in eastern Ontario.

This investment would support Ontario’s vision to build an end-to-end electric vehicle (EV) supply chain in the province and become a North American hub for building the cars of the future. Construction of the facility will provide employment for approximately 1,000 people in the construction phase and several hundred jobs in operation.

Umicore NV, a multinational circular materials technology company based in Belgium, will build a near-carbon-neutral facility in Loyalist Township to manufacture cathode active materials (CAMs) and precursor cathode active materials (pCAMs). Components are essential in 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.

Cathodes represent about 50% of the value of an EV battery and contain essential minerals such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium. This historic investment in Eastern Ontario would further connect Northern Ontario’s mining sector to electric vehicle manufacturing in the South. Each component of the battery supply chain plays an important and interconnected 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 huge gains to communities,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Ontario has everything it needs, throughout our local supply chain, to maintain and strengthen its position as a North American engine of automotive manufacturing. Umicore plans to bring this part of the electric vehicle supply chain to Ontario, which will continue to transform our automotive sector and create good jobs.

At full production, the plant will produce annual volumes of cathode material sufficient to make batteries for one million battery electric vehicles, or nearly 20% of all North American electric vehicle production by the end of the decade. The Umicore plant will take advantage of Ontario’s clean electricity system, which was over 90% emission-free in 2021. Ontario is also developing a Clean Energy Credits (CEC) registry that will allow companies like Umicore to voluntarily purchase CECs to demonstrate that all of their electricity comes from non-emitting resources.

Umicore’s plant would be the first facility of its kind on an industrial scale that combines the production of precursor cathode active materials (pCAM) and cathode active materials in the same facility. Spanning approximately 350 acres, construction is expected to begin in 2023 with operations scheduled for late 2025.

“This significant investment by Umicore will position Ontario as a North American leader in this high-value segment of the electric vehicle supply chain and will further connect Northern Ontario’s mining sector to the manufacturing of electric vehicles in the south,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Commerce. “With recent success that has attracted significant investment to the province, our government is standing up for Ontario’s claim to develop and build the batteries that will power the vehicles of the future.

This investment in Eastern Ontario accelerates the province’s 10-year vision for Driving Prosperity ― The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector. Driving Prosperity Phase 2, announced in November 2021, demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to transforming the province’s automotive supply chain to build the cars of the future, including the production of hybrid and all-electric vehicles at battery, production of EV batteries and components, and increased 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.

“Canada and Ontario have everything it takes for Umicore to establish a full-fledged sustainable supply chain for battery materials, from mine to the electric vehicle end market. Once key customer contracts are in place, this expansion into North America 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. “Furthermore, we are very grateful to the governments of Canada and Ontario for their support and willingness to co-fund this planned project. The facility will assist Canada and Umicore in their common goal of achieving a carbon neutral battery supply chain.

Since 2020, Ontario has attracted nearly $14 billion in transformative investment in automotive manufacturing, with upgrades and new technologies for facilities across the province. This includes more than $11 billion in investments in electric vehicles (EVs) and EV batteries.

Marjorie N. McClure