In November 2020, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the North Shore region, Mr. Jonatan Julien, announced that the Government of Quebec was granting financial assistance of $151,600 to the electric and intelligent vehicle industry cluster, Propulsion Québec, for the implementation of a pilot project on the adoption of traceability mechanisms for battery minerals.
This investment includes $131,600 from the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN) and $20,000 from Investissement Québec (IQ). The Government of Canada, through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), also contributed $25,000 to the project, in line with Canada’s strategic priorities to improve sustainable and responsible procurement decisions along the supply chains of minerals critical to the energy transition.
The realization of this project is in line with the orientations of the Plan québécois pour la valorisation des minéraux critiques et stratégiques 2020-2025 (PQVMCS), which was unveiled in late October 2020. One of the objectives of this governmental plan is to promote critical and strategic minerals (CSM), including the realization of a pilot project on the implementation of a traceability system for the CSMs needed to manufacture batteries.
The objective of the pilot project, using the infrastructure of New World Graphite (NMG), is to demonstrate the feasibility and applicability of a traceability system for the extraction and processing of graphite. Ultimately, such a system, if adopted more broadly, will allow all mining companies exploiting SCMs – including, for example, those involved in the manufacture of batteries – and the producers of their components to demonstrate that their production is respectful of the main environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria applicable. This approach, in addition to meeting an objective of the QMVCP, will also harmonize with the Quebec Strategy for the Development of the Lithium-Ion Battery Sector.
In addition, this pilot project is a first step in the implementation of a global initiative led by the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), which aims to deploy a traceability mechanism throughout the industry, from the mine to the manufacturing of a battery and its integration into vehicles, in a context where major automobile manufacturers and their consumers increasingly want to know the origin of the products they buy, as well as their environmental and social footprint.
The adoption of traceability mechanisms will demonstrate the industry’s compliance with the highest standards and the rigor of Quebec’s industry practices. The work covered by this project will help position Quebec as a leader in the responsible production of battery materials and components.