Construction of $1.2B Ford plant halted: ‘They’re taking a step back,’ says Fitzgibbon

The suspension of the construction of the $1.2 billion plant of the South Korean EcoPro BM, SK On and the American Ford, in Bécancour, is explained in particular by issues linked to the composition of the cathodes, detailed at Newspaper the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Tuesday.

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“There are questions about the composition of the cathodes. Do they want more nickel? They look at different formulations. They are taking a step back because it is expensive to build. We know it, it’s expensive everywhere,” explained in an interview with Newspaperthe Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, on the sidelines of an aerospace announcement, in Montreal, Tuesday morning.

The EcoPro CAM and Ford plant, whose construction is on pause, must produce 45,000 tonnes of active cathode materials per year for the manufacture of batteries for Ford electric vehicles.

Photo Francis Halin

The EcoPro CAM and Ford factory should look like this when built.

Provided by Investissement Québec

“There’s nothing to indicate to me that it won’t come back, but you never know. We have not yet put any money into this,” the minister underlined. The plant was expected to begin operations next year and create more than 345 jobs, according to Investissement Québec (IQ).

“They did not say that they were not going to leave,” summarized Pierre Fitzgibbon.

Initially, Ottawa and Quebec each planned to invest $322 million, under certain conditions, in this factory project used to produce battery materials for Ford vehicles.

The aid from Quebec is in the form of an interest-free loan, including $194 million in “forgivable” loans, that is to say non-repayable only if Ford meets certain conditions, particularly in relation to the promised jobs.

A week ago, Prime Minister François Legault said that “there is nothing to worry about”.


Prime Minister François Legault wanted to be reassuring by visiting the Ultium CAM (GM-POSCO) factory in Bécancour last Monday, in the absence of his Minister of the Economy, who has been leading this issue for years.


Last Saturday, The newspaper published a file on the progress of the sector in Bécancour, which raises a lot of hope in the region.

While hundreds of construction workers on construction sites are already delighting local merchants, others hope that the improvement will continue when the factories are built and the employees finally arrive in their region.


“Since the start of the battery sector, we have seen traffic jump by a good 30%,” confirms enthusiastically to the “Journal” Nancy Cloutier, accounting clerk at the Le 55 hotel complex, at the exit of the Laviolette bridge in Trois-Rivières, in Bécancour.

Photo Francis Halin

Five projects in progress

During an interview with The newspaperTuesday, government minister Legault, who has supported this sector since the beginning, recalled that there were five major projects.

“The big projects are GM-Posco, EcoPro-Ford, Vale, Nemaska [Lithium] and New World Graphite. These are the five flagship projects,” underlined Pierre Fitzgibbon.

“It’s a lot of pressure on the city. I’ve always said it. “That’s why Northvolt didn’t go there and went elsewhere,” he continued.

While nearly $16 billion in projects have been announced, the minister still hopes to exceed $20 billion.


Eric Desaulniers heads the development of Nouveau Monde Graphite.

Photo Francis Halin

“No controversies”

Asked about his bill aimed at modernizing Hydro-Québec, Minister Fitzgibbon reaffirmed his desire to move faster on energy projects and to grant more power to the Régie de l’énergie (and greater transparency).

“There will be at least five to six months of discussions. There will be no controversies in the bill,” he concluded.

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