Battery industry |  Soon more dominoes will fall, but where?

Battery industry | Soon more dominoes will fall, but where?

The battery sector hasn’t finished taking shape with “two or three” major announcements coming soon, according to Federal Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne. These announcements will complete the ecosystem in the country, but it is impossible to know if Quebec will have its share of the cake.

Posted at 9:00 am

Julien Arsenault

Julien Arsenault
Press

These commitments should be confirmed before the end of July, when the main interested party returns from a seven-day mission to Japan – the destination to which he flies on Saturday – oriented around three thematic axes: batteries, electric vehicles and semiconductors, the components that found in electronic chips essential to the operation of electronic equipment.

These are structuring announcements for the industry. It’s not saying, “We added 2,000 square feet to a factory.” We will have the complete chain in Canada of batteries and electric vehicles.

François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry

The Minister did not want to advance on the sums as well as on the places that will house these projects. Since the beginning of the year, Quebec and Ontario have shared the announcements. The former will house manufacturers of lithium-ion battery components (cathodes) found in vehicles, a $5 billion project.

Whenever asked to provide more details, Mr. Champagne replies that his government “talks to everyone”. With the exception of Recyclage Lithion in Quebec, Ottawa has not been massively supportive of the battery recycling niche.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry

“It’s part of the plans,” said the federal minister. There is no capacity to extract critical minerals in sufficient volume to meet demand. Recycling is the circular economy where we have to go. In the coming weeks, there is much to come. »

recover projects

At a time when the Legault government is in talks with Panasonic with the aim of installing Quebec within the Japanese multinational ecosystem, Mr. Champagne must spend a full day with the company’s top management as part of the allure of the company. operation.

“It’s nothing yet,” Mr. Champagne said, however, stopping short of promising an announcement about his return to Canadian soil. “It is certain that we will be farther away with them than before we left. [pour le Japon]. »

Companies such as Mitsui (chemicals), Fujitsu (semiconductors and electronics) and Hitachi (electronics) will meet with the minister. He will also devote much of his visit to car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki and Mitsubishi. The last three giants on this list do not assemble vehicles in Canada.

With Mitsubishi, the meeting could be an opportunity to talk health, as the conglomerate is a 79% shareholder in Medicago, a Quebec biopharmaceutical company whose plant-based COVID-19 vaccine has been rejected by the World Health Organization. (WHO) because the company has among its shareholders the tobacco company Philip Morris (21%).

“It will be fixed, we will fix it,” replies Mr. Champagne, when questioned on the subject. Ownership changes over time. »

Like the Legault government, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry did not seem willing to loosen the strings of the portfolio to participate in the purchase of the tobacco company’s shares in Moderna.

Since the WHO rejected the Quebec biopharmaceutical’s vaccine last March, Mitsubishi lobbyists have met five times with federal officials. Mr. Champagne had exchanges on at least one occasion, according to the Lobbyist Registry of Canada.

The Japanese conglomerate is also registered with the Quebec lobbyist registry to request support from the Legault government.

Nothing new for STAS

Saguenay’s STAS, weakened by Canadian sanctions on Russia and calling on Ottawa to come to its rescue, will probably have to patiently go through the trouble. Questioned on Monday, Champagne replied that he was “aware” of a file described as “complex”. “The fact that they have a major client subject to sanctions greatly limits the scope,” he says. STAS provides high-tech equipment and solutions to major aluminum players. The company is unable to receive payment from its client Rusal, the Russian aluminum giant, due to sanctions against the Putin regime. He would like Ottawa to establish a specific assistance program. “I want to help them and I understand that it is unfortunate, but there is also a commercial choice to have done business in Russia. Can I help you find new clients? It’s true. The idea is not to go against the spirit of the sanctions. »

More information

  • 9
    In Quebec, the Legault government has targeted 9 links in the battery industry, from exploration to recycling, where it wants to be present.

    SOURCE: Government of Quebec


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