Ontario will continue its winning streak in attracting multibillion-dollar electric-vehicle supply chain investments next year, with a second battery plant “absolutely” destined for the province, says Industry Minister Vic Fedeli.
“I suspect that you’re going to hear good news coming out of Ontario in the near future about all of these, whether it’s parts, the battery parts or all of the above,” Fedeli said in the upcoming Jan. 6 Automotive News Canada podcast.
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While he would not name the companies involved, the minister and Premier Doug Ford have held recent meetings with Volkswagen Group and its subsidiary PowerCo, which are seeking a Canadian site for the German-based automaker’s first North American battery cell plant.
While Quebec also is considered a contender for the plant, Ontario is generally viewed as the frontrunner.
In 2022, Ontario drew EV supply chain investments, including a $5-billion battery cell plant in Windsor, a joint venture between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution. Meanwhile, Belgium-based Umicore N.V. chose the Kingston area as the site for a $1.5-billion battery materials plant.
Fedeli as well as his federal counterpart, Francois-Philippe Champagne, have met with auto executives in Europe and Asia, in a bid to sell Canada as the ideal destination for their mines-to-mobility EV investments.
'A REALLY FULL PIPELINE'
“So, we have a really full pipeline of leads that we’re developing. And I would hope that we have positive news coming out of all of our sales meetings sometime in the first quarter.”
Fedeli, who represents the riding of Nipissing, said he is “working very hard with companies around the world to … [put] a conversion facility to make lithium hydroxide in Ontario, because that’s where the lithium is.
“I'll be darned if those rocks get up and leave. They should be processed in northern Ontario.”
When asked whether 2023 will surpass 2022 when it comes to winning automotive investments, Fedeli said Northern Ontario’s reserves of critical minerals, such as lithium and nickel, is the “province’s ace in the hole in luring companies to Ontario.”
Announcements involving lithium mining and processing investments “are coming,” he said.