Mining company to build 2 processing plants in Timmins, Ont.

George Pirie, Ontario's Minster for Mines, attends Question Period at the Queens Park Legislature in Toronto, on Wednesday October 25, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Two massive processing facilities will be built in northeastern Ontario, mining company Canada Nickel said Thursday, as the province gears up its end-to-end electric vehicle battery manufacturing chain.

The company said its subsidiary, NetZero Metals, will develop a nickel processing facility and a plant that makes stainless steel and alloys in Timmins, Ont.

The plants will use the company’s carbon storage technology to produce zero-carbon nickel and stainless steel and are expected to be operational by 2027, CEO Mark Selby said.

“These processing facilities will position the Timmins Nickel District and Canada at the forefront of the global transition to greener energy and materials,” Selby wrote in a statement.

The final cost will not be known until the feasibility studies are complete, but Selby said the first phase will cost $1 billion.

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The company is in the process of selecting sites for the plants.

Canada Nickel is also building a new open-pit mine 40 kilometres north of Timmins that will extract nickel, iron and cobalt.

The new plants will fill a critical link in the electric vehicle battery supply chain, given that nickel is a major component of them.

Ontario and the federal government have lured automakers Stellantis and Volkswagen to the province to build multi-billion-dollar electric vehicle battery plants.

The demand for critical minerals such as nickel is expected to explode in the near future.

Ontario Mining Minister George Pirie says Timmins is poised to become a hub for nickel.

“We have what the world needs right in our backyard to fuel the electric vehicle revolution,” said Pirie, who represents the riding of Timmins.

The province has not committed any more money to the project, but did invest $500,000 to help Canada Nickel develop new processing techniques for the plants.

“Ontario has not received an official funding ask from Canada Nickel at this time, but we are always willing to review proposals from companies that are working to build an integrated supply chain from mining critical minerals in the north to manufacturing electric vehicles in the south,” said Dylan Moore, Pirie’s spokesman.

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The project has the blessing of Taykwa Tagamou Nation, a nearby First Nation.

“Since the very beginning of Canada Nickel’s journey, our partnership has been based on mutual respect and ensuring our treaty was honoured with a true seat at the decision-making table,” said Chief Bruce Archibald.

“Our First Nation is proud to see Canada Nickel’s continued growth with their future downstream processing facilities, and we’ll proudly continue to partner with them based upon the mutual principles we’ve always shared.”

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