A sign of Ford’s imminent arrival in the Quebec battery industry, the American giant and its partners have completed the acquisition of a huge piece of land in the Bécancour industrial park, in the Centre-du-Québec region, for approximately 14 million.

The project for a cathode factory, the main input for the lithium-ion battery that powers electric vehicles, has been in the air since last fall. This plant will be the result of a partnership between Ford, ECOPRO BM and the battery manufacturer SK On.

A cathode represents approximately 40% of the cost of a battery cell.

A sum of 13.6 million was paid at the end of June to the seller, the Société du parc Industriel et Port de Bécancour, an entity belonging to the Government of Quebec. The sale of the 280,000 square meter land was made on the terms set out in the offer made between Ford and the Industrial Park Company on February 8. The engine manufacturer then assigned the promise to purchase to the limited partnership ECOPRO CAM Canada two days later.

This notarized transaction was first reported by Radio-Canada Mauricie a few days ago. In the Bécancour industrial park, the land, located north of Highway 30, faces those of GM-POSCO and Nemaska ​​Lithium.

Ford has entered into an agreement to obtain supplies of lithium hydroxide produced at the Nemaska ​​Lithium plant, which will also be built in Bécancour.

The Industrial Park Corporation has retained a right of first offer if the owner ever resells or disposes of the land or an undeveloped parcel of land within the next four years. The price will be the sum of the 2023 sale price plus the cost of infrastructure paid by the buyer, indexed by 1.5% per year. From the 5th year, the Park may buy back undeveloped land under the same conditions. This right expires on the 6th anniversary of the sale of the land in June.

Contractor L. A. Hébert began excavation work on the lot on June 26.

The action is not lacking in Bécancour, since the excavators are in place on the Nemaska ​​Lithium site. According to the public broadcaster, the investment amounts to 1 billion in the case of Ford-ECOPRO CAM. In the case of GM-POSCO, which will also manufacture cathodes in Bécancour, the bill amounts to 600 million. The governments of Quebec and Canada extend half of the sum. The extent of government support in the Ford-ECOPRO case is unknown.

The timing of the announcement is yet to be determined. The Trudeau government has been particularly busy in recent weeks saving the planned investment in Ontario with the Stellantis battery plant.

Recently, La Presse recalled the developments in two of the links in the battery industry in Quebec: the construction of a Lithion Technologies battery recycling plant in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville and the expected arrival of the Swedish cellulier Northvolt in Saint -Basil-the-Great/McMasterville. For this project, which would include the manufacture of cathodes and cells as well as the recycling of batteries, we are talking about an expected investment of around 7 billion.