News: Exclusive: U.S. looks to Canada for minerals to build electric vehicles – documents.
(Reuters) – The US government is working to help American miners and battery manufacturers expand into Canada. This is part of a strategy to increase regional production of minerals to make electric vehicles and combat Chinese domination.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce is hosting a closed circuit virtual meeting with miners and battery manufacturers to discuss ways to increase Canadian production of electric vehicle materials, according to Reuters.
The move comes as the demand for electrified transportation will increase over the next decade.
Conservationists have strongly opposed several large U.S. mining projects, prompting officials to look north of the border into Canada and deliver 13 of the 35 minerals Washington deems critical for national defense.
Tesla Inc, Albemarle Corp, Talon Metals Corp and Livent Corp are among more than 30 attendees at Thursday’s meeting who will discuss how Washington can help US companies expand in Canada and overcome logistical challenges.
The U.S. Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The event comes after U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed last month to building an EV supply chain between the two countries.
Since Biden’s election, three US mining companies have invested in Canada, where mining accounts for 5% of the country’s gross domestic product, up from around 0.9% in the US.
Canada’s Fortune Minerals Ltd, which is developing a cobalt mine in the Northwest Territories, has also held funding talks with the U.S. export / import bank, its chief executive told Reuters.
“The United States takes this really seriously,” said CEO Robin Goad.
Lithium-ion batteries are dangerous to transport over long distances, so automakers prefer to have them built near assembly plants. This should support the efforts of Ontario and Quebec to develop their own battery cell plants with both provinces near the US automakers in Michigan and Ohio.
“The border between Canada and the US doesn’t matter to EVs or EV minerals,” said Arne Frandsen, CEO of the mining investment group Pallinghurst, which is the largest shareholder in Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc, which is building a graphite mine and anode facility in Quebec.
Pallinghurst joined Livent last November to purchase the Nemaska lithium project in Quebec, located in the largest lithium mine in North America. Both projects are slated to open by 2024, when automakers launch dozens of new EV models.
“We see Canada as a natural opportunity to expand as the entire battery supply chain has a huge self-billing process when it comes to sourcing,” said Paul Graves, CEO of Livent.
Livent has supply contracts with BMW and Tesla.
Of course, the United States is also trying to boost domestic production of EV metals, which the Biden administration says is vital.
However, according to a US government source, Washington is increasingly viewing Canada as a kind of “51. State ”for mineral supplies and plans to deepen financial and logistical partnerships with the country’s mining sector over time.
Both countries are members of the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, a pact for the exchange of experience and resources in mining.
Canadian firms can also apply for US government grants under the US Defense Production Act and other US funding programs. There are no US tariffs for Canadian EV battery metals or EV parts.
“Canada is becoming an important part of the North American electric vehicle supply chain,” said Keith Phillips, CEO of Piedmont Lithium Ltd, who in January acquired 20% of Sayona Mining Ltd, a developer of a lithium project in Quebec.
Canada’s First Cobalt Corp is building the continent’s only cobalt refinery to wean the EV industry from supplies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which used child labor. Cobalt is used to make battery cathodes.
In addition to Canada’s attractiveness, some of the country’s mines claim to be environmentally friendly and promise to use hydropower to reduce their CO2 emissions.
The United States knows “that we are the safest and most resilient source of metal imports for them,” Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, told Reuters.
Last week, privately held USA Rare Earth invested in Search Minerals Inc.’s rare earth project in Newfoundland, eastern Canada.
While USA Rare Earth already controls a rare earth deposit in Texas, executives said they wanted access to more minerals used to make electronics and weapons.
“You can’t just rely on projects in the US to ensure supplies,” said Pini Althaus, CEO of USA Rare Earth. “You have to work with Canada.”
Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston and Jeff Lewis in Toronto; Adaptation by Amran Abocar and Marguerita Choy
Original Source © Reuters