The Québec government has revealed that it is in talks with Tesla about the automaker investing in battery production in the province.
Québec is rich in metals used to produce batteries. With the rise of electric vehicles, the province is trying to capitalize on that and is investing heavily in the extraction of key minerals, like lithium, nickel, and graphite.
The local government recently announced plans to invest between $2 and $3 billion ($1.6 to $2.4 billion USD) in production, ranging from the extraction of those metals all the way to the production of battery cells.
It is looking for private partners to develop the sector, and now Tesla is emerging as one of them.
Today, a representative for Pierre Fitzgibbon, Québec’s economy minister, confirmed that the official met with Tesla executives in California last month.
Mathieu St-Amand, Fitzgibbon’s press manager, said (translated from French):
“The minister met with Tesla executives during a mission in California last month. They discussed Quebec’s place in Tesla’s supply chain.”
Le Journal de Montreal, which previously reported talks between Tesla and Québec’s government, reports based on a “government source” that talks “have been moving forward over the last few months.”
Tesla has already indirectly invested in Québec’s lithium resources through its deal with Piedmont Lithium, which is going to source lithium from Sayonna Mining, a company behind a lithium project in Quebec’s Abitibi region.
It still sounds like early talks, in my opinion, but with that said, Québec is primed to be home to large-scale battery production.
Québec is close to most of the resources needed to produce battery cells and it has super cheap and clean hydropower.
Lion Electric already announced a 5 GWh battery factory in the province, but if Tesla was to build something, it would be on a much larger scale.
There are several projects to produce and refine graphite and lithium that are at advanced stages, like Nemaska Lithium and Nouveau Monde Graphite. But the Québec government is looking for a complete loop from extraction to cell production. It would need to attract a company like Tesla, LG Energy, Panasonic, or other battery cell manufacturers to make that happen.
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