(Quebec) The Quebec company, with the support of Nancy Pelosi’s son, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, plans to set up a car battery recycling plant in Bay-Como to meet demand that is set to explode in the coming years.
Éco-minière St-Georges hopes to utilize the city’s port to reach overseas markets. It has recently received support from Innovation et Développement Manicouagan.
“There is an urgent need for manufacturers to solve the recycling problem while ensuring the supply of specialty metals,” explains Francois Dumas, the company’s director and chief operating officer.
The company éco-minière St-Georges specializes in mineral exploration. But it also obtained a patent for a lithium-ion battery recycling process. Mr. Dumas says his method is less polluting than the combustion technology currently used in many factories.
The idea to set up a factory in Bay-Como was born when the company got a call from the United States. Investors were interested in his operation. One of them was Paul Pelosi Jr., the former chair of the San Francisco Environment Commission. He is also the son of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The American became a major shareholder in the company, in addition to heading the sector responsible for battery recycling.
Francois Dumas from Bay Como. But he made it clear that it was not about the decision to set up a factory there. Agents of economic development in the area called the company, then Paul Pelosi Jr. asked him if he knew the city. I replied: Yes a little! ”
Proactive North Shore
Jay Simard, Director of Industrial Development at Innovation and Development Manicouagan, notes that North Shore wants to position itself positively in the electric battery sector.
The developer has supported éco-minière St-Georges and intends to assist it with its feasibility study. “The study will be used to determine the location, but it will be in the industrial port area, and therefore near the port,” explains Mr. Simard.
The company believes it will know next summer whether its operation is in operation at scale and whether the plant in Bay Como is feasible.
To start with, we talked about forty stable jobs after a year, a year and a half. We’re not coming to recreate forests! But these are good jobs.
François Dumas, Director and Director of Operations, éco-minière St-Georges
The company announced on February 22 that initial tests showed its method could recycle 99% of the nickel and cobalt found in lithium-ion batteries.
A project in Montreal
Of course, this company is not the only one embarking on this promising sector. Recyclage Lithion in Quebec is a more advanced company and operates a small factory in Anjou to test its operations.
“The global race continues. We are ahead of a lot of everyone. Most of them haven’t run a factory like ours for a year,” says Benoit Couture, President of Recyclage Lithion.
If all goes well, the company will build its first commercial plant in the Montreal area early in 2022.
Then, in 2024, we will be able to receive batteries and produce essential strategic materials to revamp the lithium-ion battery supply chain.
Benoit Couture, President of Recyclage Lithion
Interest in this sector is growing with the electrification of transportation. The price of the raw materials used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries continues to rise, and hence the interest in recovering them. Nickel is at an all-time high, while cobalt is at its highest in a year.
Article from the magazine Temperate nature Published in November 2019 highlighted the complexity of lithium-ion battery recycling. The abundance of battery models and sizes, particularly for phones and cars, makes standardization difficult.
The study authors caution that “careful management of the resources involved in the manufacture and recycling of electric vehicle batteries is certainly key to the future sustainability of the auto industry.”