How EV Umicore, an EV battery materials company, sparked the Kingston, Ontario area

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The province brought Umicore to a “menu” of possible sites across Ontario before the company settled on the Kingston area, Fedeli said. It would not say how many sites.

Miedreich cited the region’s talent pool as one of the main reasons the company chose the location. He also highlighted broader priorities, such as Ontario’s clean electricity system and the availability of resources in Canada.

EXPANSION? MAYBE

While Umicore plans the new plant, which is expected to open by the end of 2025, it is already eyeing expansion. In addition to PCAM and CAM, the company is exploring further vertical integration through mineral refining and battery recycling at the 350-acre (140-hectare) site, Miedreich said.

The Umicore plant would be the first site in Canada to produce PCAM and is among the select few in North America targeting CAM.

Canada is already well positioned to produce the mix of materials that make up the positive end of a battery cell. On March 4, German chemical company BASF announced the construction of a battery materials plant in Bécancour, Quebec. General Motors made a similar but unrelated announcement on March 7.

Land cost, availability and readiness are among the reasons the battery supply chain is heading east, according to economic developers. The Umicore project reinforces the importance of land preparation, said Jay Amer, chief executive of the Eastern Ontario Economic Development Commission, which serves as the link between business, the province and development agencies. regional economy.

“Everyone has a pitch, but it’s not enough,” Amer said. “The big challenge in our communities is getting elected officials to invest in serviced, shovel-ready land.”

For the Umicore deal, Loyalist Township was ready. The municipality owned the parcel of land, which greatly simplified the acquisition, said Paul, the county official for Lennox and Addington. The land was also already zoned for manufacturing and had the appropriate road and rail connections.

ALWAYS ACCESS TO US

Paul expects companies to continue to look east for a ready supply of land at “competitive prices” with the Greater Toronto Area and southwestern Ontario.

The region presents some challenges, particularly with respect to proximity to the United States, but despite being farther from the traditional automotive hub of the Midwest, Eastern Ontario still offers vital links to the south, Amer said.

“A lot of companies that come [to Eastern Ontario]they want to enter the American market, and they suddenly realize that there are three uncongested border crossings [in the Kingston area],” he said. “It’s not Windsor, it’s not Buffalo or Fort Erie, and that’s one of our selling points.”

Like Paul, Amer expects a major change in the investment climate in Eastern Ontario following the Umicore announcement.

“I think Toyota is going to Woodstock [in 2009], and the world changed there,” he said. “Seeing growth coming in our direction is something we work with every day… This will be a project we will see a lot of benefits from, and success breeds success.”

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