Anticipation is building in Loyalist Township, Ont., west of Kingston where construction of an industrial-scale battery materials plant is set to begin later this year.
Last summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in town to announce a deal with a Belgian company to build a $1.5-billion plant. It will support the auto industry’s drive toward electric vehicles.
It’s not much more than a field and some trees right now, but soon the empty 350-acre lot will have a tremendous impact on the local economy.
The site is earmarked for a sprawling materials manufacturing plant that will bring more than 600 skilled and entry-level jobs to the area.
“It will be a huge boost for Loyalist Township itself as well as the whole surrounding area,” Mayor Jim Hegadorn said.
The mayor says clearing the land for site preparation is likely only days away.
“There’s a tree permit that’s being reviewed and will probably be issued within days we expect and once that happens then the equipment will be on-site,” Hegadorn said.
In June, the federal government reached a deal with materials technology company Unimcore to build a facility that, at full capacity, will produce enough materials to power one million electric vehicles a year.
The $1.5-billion facility is set to be operational by 2025.
“There are a lot of things that we have to do, a lot of checks we have to tick,” Umicore vice-president Frank Streignart said. “And let’s say that here in Loyalist where we want to set up the plant, they tick most of the boxes.”
The company has begun community consultation with area neighbours as well as Indigenous groups.
For now, the project is still in the planning phase but the company says it hopes to get construction underway this summer.