Canada in ‘active discussions’ with EV supply chain companies – minister

OTTAWA, May 4 (Reuters) – Canada is talking to a number of companies interested in setting up production in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, the industry minister said, while that the government seeks to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and play a role in the transition to greener cars.

There are “very active discussions with a number of players” to develop an electric vehicle supply chain, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an interview last week.

Champagne did not name the companies, saying only that he spoke to representatives of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) last week, and recently spoke to company executives in the United States, Japan and Korea .

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Canada urges producers and processors of critical minerals to increase their production. It has invested in electric vehicle projects through a multi-billion dollar fund established in 2020 and last month pledged C$3.8 billion ($3 billion) over eight years to help boost the production and processing of essential minerals used for electric vehicles. Read more

Canada and the United States want all passenger vehicle sales to be zero emissions by 2035.

In March, Stellantis (STLA.MI), the parent company of Jeep and Chrysler, announced that it would build an electric vehicle battery joint venture with South Korean company LG Energy Solution (373220.KS) in Windsor, New York. across the border from Detroit, which Champagne called “a watershed moment.” Read more

The government has met with industry players to establish a strategy that it hopes will make Canadian minerals, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, key to the production of electric vehicles in North America, according to sector CEOs and the Minister.

The plan will be completed this year, government sources said without providing details.

It couldn’t happen fast enough. Electric car makers Rivian Automotive Inc (RIVN.O) and Tesla (TSLA.O) warned this year of future battery supply constraints due to a lack of raw materials.

Canadian miners of critical minerals like Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc (NOU.V), Nemaska ​​Lithium Inc, Electra Battery Materials Corp (ELBM.V) and Avalon Advanced Materials Inc (AVL.TO) want to meet demand.

Nouveau Monde aims to increase its production of graphite-based anode material to 45,000 tonnes per year by 2025, according to a spokeswoman.

Nemaska ​​is focused on building its Whabouchi lithium mine in Quebec and a conversion plant, with the goal of producing about 34,000 tonnes per year, CEO Spiro Pippos said.

Electra is expanding a battery-grade cobalt-nickel sulfate refinery in Temiskaming Shores, Ont., and aims to produce the materials needed for lithium-ion batteries by 2025, according to CEO Trent Mell.

Avalon, which plans to refine lithium in partnership with a unit of India’s Essar Group in Thunder Bay, Ont., said support from different levels of government was essential.

“What we’ve always needed is to show potential manufacturing end-users that the province is ready to help create the supply chains on the critical materials they need in their technologies.” , said Avalon CEO Donald Bubar.

But BHP Group Ltd (BHP.AX), the world’s largest listed mining company which moved its copper and nickel exploration offices to Toronto last year, needs help to meet its emissions targets in order to supply critical minerals.

“When I look at Canada, I think net zero by 2050 is fantastic, but I have a bigger challenge,” Rag Udd, BHP’s president for Minerals Americas, said Monday in Toronto. “How do we get these (low-emission) energy sources? How do we work with the provinces to actually induce that? »

William Adams, head of battery materials research at UK commodity price information group Fastmarkets, warned of mineral shortages if production is not increased.

“Canada is blessed… It has nickel, cobalt and lithium,” Adams said. “But like everywhere else, there needs to be a lot more investment in all of these projects.”

($1 = 1.2878 Canadian dollars)

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Reporting by Steve Scherer, with additional reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto Editing by Marguerita Choy

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