A flood of investments in the battery supply chain — from miners, battery-material suppliers and automakers — began gushing into Quebec in early 2022 and there are few signs the tide will recede.
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s minister of economy, innovation and energy, said he was not surprised when the province’s mix of critical minerals and clean power began attracting the auto industry. But how quickly the investments began materializing caught him off-guard, he told Automotive News Canada.
“I underestimated the speed at which the parties wanted to conclude transactions,” Fitzgibbon said.
On March 4, 2022, Germany-based chemical giant BASF announced that it had purchased land for a cathode-active-materials plant in Bécancour, midway between Montreal and Quebec City. A week later, General Motors and Posco Chemical Co. shared joint plans to do the same.
That was just the beginning.
Bécancour is on deck to host more than half a dozen mineral processing plants of various sizes, becoming a somewhat unlikely hub for the province’s battery ecosystem.
Investments in lithium, graphite and other critical-mineral mines in more remote areas of Quebec were made through 2022 as well, with others expected as miners shift to development from exploration.