MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — A billion-dollar battery cell production plant in Maple Ridge, B.C., will produce up to 135 million batteries each year as part of Canada’s push toward clean technology, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday during a stop in Metro Vancouver.
Trudeau was joined by B.C. Premier David Eby to announce federal and provincial financial support for the E-One Moli lithium-ion battery cell production plant.
It will be the largest factory in Canada to manufacture such high-performance batteries, Trudeau said.
“This is where the puck is going, this is the future we are building together every single day. Climate policy is economic policy.”
The B.C. government will contribute up to $80 million, while $970 million is set to come from the federal government, E-One Moli and private sources.
A news release from the City of Maple Ridge said the total federal-provincial investment was $280 million to support the expansion of the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries.
B.C. has long been known for its innovation in the clean-technology sector, and securing the clean battery manufacturing project will build on that expertise, Trudeau told the press conference.
Nelson Chang, the chairman of E-One Moli Energy, said the company has always been committed to innovation and creativity as the creator of the world’s first commercialized lithium-metal battery.
E-One Moli has been operating a plant in Maple Ridge since 1990. Its parent company, Taiwan Cement Corp., is based in Taiwan.
“We believe that human freedom is a chance for us to do good for others and appreciate life’s fleeing nature, to leave a positive impact on the world,” Chang said.
“We believe that (carbon dioxide) reduction is absolutely the key to success for all future businesses.”
The new plant will produce high-performance lithium-cell batteries found in numerous products, including vacuums, medical devices, and power and gardening tools.
Construction is expected to start next June and the company plans for the facility to be fully operational in 2028.
With the creation of 450 jobs, E-One Moli is poised to become the largest private-sector employer in Maple Ridge.
Eby said every industry needs to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint to ensure they have a prosperous future and every province should do the same.
It’s the responsible thing to do given the record wildfires, extreme heat, and atmospheric rivers that caused catastrophic flooding in B.C., he said.
“We know that this is what we have to do. The people who suggest that we have to accept that as the future and stop taking action are simply wrong.”
Trudeau, Eby and Chang toured the existing plant in Maple Ridge, east of Vancouver, before making the announcement.
The prime minister wove his way around several machines and apologized to technicians about the commotion his visit was creating in the warehouse.
As part of the agreement, E-One Moli will switch some of its plant operations to electricity from natural gas, the B.C. government said in a news release.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation criticized the federal and B.C. governments for the announcement, saying in a statement the multimillion-dollar handout to the battery firm will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for each job.
Federation director Franco Terrazzano said the Trudeau government has recently given “buckets of cash” to corporations such as Volkswagen, Stellantis, the Ford Motor Company and Northvolt.
“Instead of raising taxes on ordinary Canadians and handing out corporate welfare, governments should be cutting red tape and taxes to grow the economy.”
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