Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes announcement at Queen’s

Potential opportunities for Queen’s students comes from $1.5 billion deal

Justin Trudeau announced a deal with Umicore in Mitchell Hall.
Trudeau is accompanied by Mathias Miedreich, CEO Umicore, François-Philippe Champagne, Mark Gerretsen, and other dignitaries when announcing a deal with Umicore in Mitchell Hall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped at Mitchell Hall to announce the construction of a $1.5 billion Umicore electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in the Loyalist Township.

The plant is expected to supply batteries for roughly one million electric vehicles annually by the end of the decade.  

“This will be good for our economy, as well as for the environment—it shows that when we're working to fight climate change, we can build new industries here in Canada,” Trudeau said at the announcement. 

Belgium-based Umicore specializes as a multi-national materials technology company working in the sustainable technology field. They work to provide traditional precious metals in the North American market. 

The announcement was hosted by Vice-Principal (Research) Nancy Ross. Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), associate vice-principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), opened the event with the land acknowledgment. 

Principal Patrick Deane was present along with other university staff and faculty.

Trudeau also announced Umicore and the Government of Canada signed a memorandum of understanding, which finalizes the government’s support under the Strategic Innovation Fund

Umicore will start the construction of the 350-acre site in Loyalist in 2023, with operations expected to commence at the end of 2025. The facility will turn raw metals such as lithium and nickel into battery components, otherwise known as cathode active materials. 

“The investment today, as we’ll talk about, is a vote of confidence in Canadians, in our ability to step up and provide solutions not just for ourselves but for the world,” Trudeau said. 

Today’s announcement comes after the federal government $15 billion investment into green energy technology, including funding for 6000 vehicle-charging stations across the country.

According to Trudeau, Canada will become a global leader in the field of electric vehicles.

The Loyalist plant will bring close to 1000 jobs to the region during construction, including hundreds of long-term jobs.

Minister of Innovation (Science and Industry) François-Philippe Champagne was also in attendance. He said he’s most proud of the developing auto sector in Canada. Champagne explained the announcement of the Loyalist plant marked the future direction of Canada’s economy.  

“As the prime minister [said] that there will be cleaner, greener and more prosperous economy which will bring more good, well-paying jobs,” Champagne said.

Champagne expressed the Loyalist plant fills critical gaps within the Canadian electric vehicle ecosystem which, according to him, includes the development of natural resources.

“Mathias [CEO of Umicore] was already talking to the head of the engineering department [at Queen’s] to look at some internships, and people because talent is really the key currency of today,” Champagne said.  

In a press release, Principal Deane said Queen’s is a committed contributor to the regional economy. 

“We look forward to seeing the project progress and to making new connections while developing opportunities for research partnerships that will contribute to the health, vibrancy, sustainability, and continued innovation of not only Kingston but beyond.”

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