Battery materials company EcoPro BM has formed a pair of Canadian subsidiaries amid talks with the federal and Quebec governments about financial backing for a prospective cathode active materials (CAM) plant in the province.
In a federal lobbyist filing Feb. 21, the South Korea-based company listed EcoPro CAM Canada LP as a subsidiary, updating a previous filing from December that had not included the business unit. A comparable update was filed in Quebec Feb. 24.
The entity was recently registered, listing an office tower in downtown Montreal as its address. Canada’s Business Registries, which compiles company registrations from across the country, shows Commandité ÉcoPro CAM Canada Inc., was formed Feb. 2. Another company registered to the same address, EcoCAM Canada Inc., was created the same day.
The formation of the Canadian subsidiaries follows several months of exchanges between EcoPro BM and the two levels of government.
Federal lobbying documents show the company has been meeting with the ministry of innovation, science and economic development in pursuit of financial assistance that will “be used for the implementation” of a CAM plant. Filings in Quebec, likewise, show the company is seeking help from provincially owned Investissement Québec for a plant that would produce CAM, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries.
The lobbyist filings do not pinpoint a location for the potential plant, but Bloomberg reported in November that EcoPro BM was in talks to build a US$700 million CAM plant in Bécancour, Que., in partnership with Ford Motor Co., and battery cell maker SK On Co. An official announcement, it said, could come within three months.
The three companies signed a letter of intent to jointly invest in a CAM plant at an unspecified location in North America last July. At the time, SK On said the cathode plant will supply battery cell production lines at BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale, Ky.
The North American site would be EcoPro BM’s second plant outside Asia; it announced plans for a CAM plant in Hungary in late 2021.
If the Korean battery materials company moves ahead with a Quebec plant, it would become Bécancour’s third such facility. Two sites in the fast-emerging battery hub midway between Montreal and Quebec City are already scheduled to be producing battery materials for chemical company BASF and a joint venture between General Motors and Posco Chemical by mid-decade.
The Quebec government has also been actively pursuing further battery suppliers looking to put down roots.
In January, the province’s Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy Pierre Fitzgibbon told Automotive News Canada that the province was “working hard” to confirm an unnamed, third CAM manufacturer to Quebec.