TORONTO — General Motors Co. and South Korea’s Posco Chemical announced Monday an agreement to build a plant in Quebec to produce battery materials for electric vehicles (EVs). The companies said the new facility in Bécancour, Quebec will cost US$400 million.
It will produce cathode active materials (CAMs) for GM’s Ultium batteries and will be a stand-alone plant, with materials being moved to Ultium plants in the United States where the battery cells will then be manufactured.
“It’s so exciting to see GM Canada and Quebec playing a key role in building the emerging ‘mining to mobility’ electric vehicle battery ecosystem in North America,” said Scott Bell, President and general manager of GM Canada, in a press release.
The company said CAM is made of treated nickel, lithium and other materials, and will eventually help power electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Hummer EV.
CAM accounts for almost 40% of the cost of each EV battery.
Site preparation and construction are expected to begin immediately and will create approximately 200 jobs.
The announcement comes after GM and Posco agreed to form a CAM processing joint venture in December and build a plant in North America.
The companies also say the site will be built to allow for future expansion. In November, Posco announced plans to acquire a 15% stake in Chinese electric vehicle battery materials producer Inner Mongolia Sinuo New Material Technology Co.
Quebec was chosen for this new plant because of several advantages, according to David Paterson, vice-president of corporate and environmental affairs at GM Canada.
“Quebec’s low greenhouse gas (GHG) rate, low-cost electricity is really important,” he said in an interview. “In addition to its environmental standards, excellent logistical links and a well-trained workforce are some of the other reasons we chose Quebec.
Paterson said he was pleased that GM’s first investment in CAM was in Canada because of the country’s natural resources combined with Canada’s desire to do more to process those resources.
“Now Canada’s mining industry can work together with us to not only extract raw materials in Canada, but also add value to them,” he said. “It will create more jobs and more benefits and allow the industry to be part of this whole integrated North American automotive sector.”
GM is also preparing to launch Canada’s first all-electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario later this year.
Canada is beginning to see the fruits of constant advocacy by different levels of government with stakeholders around the world, said Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.
“We are going to see critical investments in mineral mining and processing, cell manufacturing, cathodes and anodes as well as commitments to the electric vehicle program,” he said in an interview.
Meanwhile, Germany’s BASF also announced plans to build a cathode materials plant in Quebec where it will produce and recycle CAM.