Canadian Manufacturing

EDC-led consortium lends $20M for Ontario biochemical plant

Biochemical plant in Sarnia, Ont., will produce 30,000 tonnes of succinic acid annually

SARNIA, Ont.—An American firm with plans to build Canada’s first bio-based chemical plant in southwestern Ontario said it has secured a $20-million loan to build the facility.

According to Minnesota-based BioAmber Inc., its Canadian subsidiary, BioAmber Sarnia Inc., landed the loan from a consortium of lenders, including Export Development Canada (EDC), Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and Comerica, Inc.

The $20-million loan comes about five months after BioAmber Sarnia received a $10-million loan from the Canadian government to build the succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ont.

BioAmber Sarnia, a joint venture between BioAmber and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., has also received another $35 million in financing from various government organizations including Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.

When completed in early 2015, BioAmber claims the Sarnia plant will be the world’s largest bio-based succinic acid production facility, with an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes.

The company estimates more than 90 per cent of the 30,000 tonnes of the biochemical produced at the plant will be exported.

Produced using corn-derived feedstock, succinic acid is used to manufacture paints, plastics, resins, de-icers, pharmaceuticals, solvents, food additives, fabrics and cosmetics.

The process is carbon neutral and replaces the conventional production method that uses petrochemicals.

BioAmber is aiming to have the plant operational in early 2015.

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