Ontario Construction News staff
Electra Battery Materials Corporation has released highlights of a scoping study prepared by a global engineering firm focused on creating an integrated electric vehicle battery materials park in Northern Ontario.
“Backed by compelling project economics, we are now proceeding with an engineering prefeasibility study to narrow our focus on feed sources and devise a multi-phased approach to growing nickel refining capacity in North America,” Electra CEO Trent Mell said in a statement.
Temiskaming Shores could become the site of North America’s first battery materials park. Electra, formerly known as First Cobalt, has already invested about $100 million to expand an existing refinery to process many of the base materials necessary for the lithium ion batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric vehicles.
The study examined construction of a battery grade nickel sulfate refinery in Ontario by 2025-26, with three feed base loads: nickel sulfides, Class 1 nickel metal and ferro nickel, supplemented with recycled battery black mass and nickel-rich mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP).
Capital costs to build an integrated facility producing 10,000 tonnes per annum of nickel sulfate and nickel equivalent pCAM materials are anticipated to be between $550 and $650 million.
The production facility is expected to contribute $225 million of GDP impact during the construction phase, including $112 million of salaries and $35 million of taxes plus an additional $415 million during the first 10 years of operations, including $111 million of salaries and $78 million of taxes.
The study assessed the economics and carbon footprint of an integrated facility producing 10,000 tonnes per annum of battery grade nickel sulfate and nickel equivalent pCAM – components essential to production of electric vehicle batteries.
“With U.S. electric vehicle manufacturers moving swiftly to reduce reliance on Chinese and Russian critical minerals in order to qualify for the $7,500 EV credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, Electra is capitalizing on the opportunity to provide secure domestic supply of EV battery materials,” Mell said.
“The scoping study supports our view that an integrated refining-recycling-pCAM battery materials complex in Ontario would deliver compelling economics, emit low carbon emissions and address the onshoring of battery materials needed by the North American automotive industry.”
Operating costs to produce 10,000 tonnes per annum of nickel sulfate and nickel equivalent pCAM materials on an integrated basis are anticipated to be between $125 and $133 million per year or between $13,000 and $13,600 per tonne of nickel sulfate produced (excluding byproduct credits), configured for NMC 811 EV battery chemistries.
The integrated production facility is expected to contribute $225 million of GDP impact during the construction phase, including $112 million of salaries and $35 million of taxes plus an additional $415 million during the first 10 years of operations, including $111 million of salaries and $78 million of taxes.
“The benefits of an integrated recycling, refining, and pCAM facility identified by the scoping study provide a significant opportunity for Electra to further leverage its Ontario refinery location and assets,” said Dave Marshall, Electra’s vice-president of engineering. “By using a phased approach towards project development and exploring collaboration opportunities for manganese and pCAM production, we will now look towards reducing capital and operating costs as we launch our engineering prefeasibility study.”