Canadian Manufacturing

Canada’s role in the battery supply chain grows as more announcements are revealed

The Canadian Press

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Canada is still lagging on battery cell and component manufacturing and domestic demand for electric vehicles, but there have been many announcements in the last year improving both.

Federal Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is selling Canada’s battery-supply chain prowess in Asia again this week, but this time he has a new boast in his back pocket.

Research firm BloombergNEF pushed Canada’s position in its annual global ranking of battery-producing countries ahead of everyone else but China.

“That’s something I’m going to use very much on my trip in Asia, to say we have what Asia needs,” Champagne said.

The survey ranks 30 countries with a significant presence in the industry, be it in the mining of raw materials to the production of batteries and their component parts.


The first version in 2020 ranked Canada fourth, and in 2021 fifth, after mining outputs fell and regulatory hurdles mounted.

But Canada has announced more than $15 billion in investments over the past 10 months in areas ranging from critical mineral mining and processing to battery component manufacturing, electric vehicle production and the country’s first gigafactory.

That helped Canada climb past Sweden, Germany and the United States, even with the latter’s massive investments under the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I think this is a home run for Canada in the sense that the vision was really to build an ecosystem from mine to recycling, and now it’s taking shape and what we’re doing now is to optimize it,” Champagne said.

His trips this week to Japan and South Korea, along with next week’s planned stops in Germany, are in that vein. He has already met with key industry players in those countries multiple times both in Canada and abroad, but he says he’s focused on consolidating those relationships and continuing to make Canada’s case as a presence in the field.

The battery-supply chain has many links, starting with mining of the raw materials like lithium, nickel, aluminum and copper used to make batteries. Those minerals and metals are then refined so they can be used to make the components of battery cells — namely cathodes, anodes and electrolytes.

The BloombergNEF report looks at all of those supply chain parts, as well as demand for the end product and environmental stewardship.

Canada gets among the highest marks on keeping the supply chain green, thanks in part to a generous supply of renewable energy but also to environmental regulations on mining. The BloombergNEF survey also credited Canada for its efforts to boost mining activity.

Canada is still lagging on battery cell and component manufacturing and domestic demand for electric vehicles, but there have been many announcements in the last year improving both.

While Canada is not the biggest producer of any of the main metals and minerals needed for batteries, it is one of the few places in the world capable of producing all of them.

Canada and its allies are also trying to prevent China from using its dominance in the battery supply chain industry to throw its weight around in global politics. They have likened it to Europe being too reliant on Russia for gas.

Having started investing in the sphere more than a decade ago, China is now home to three-quarters of all battery cell manufacturing capacity and 90 per cent of anode and electrolyte production.


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