Windsor Battery Plant, Canadian Natural Resources, and Climate Adaption Strategy

Posted by on Dec 9, 2022 in Blog | 0 comments

Canada Boosting Battery Production

In our September 12, 2022, blog, we shared the news that Canada began supplying rare earth elements to help meet the needs of the burgeoning “green economy.”  This focus seems to be paying dividends.

A survey that ranks 30 countries in the battery-supply chain (mining to production) ranked Canada second.  Previous rankings had Canada as number four.

According to an article in the Financial Post, “Canada has announced more than $15 billion in investments over the past 10 months in areas ranging from critical mineral mining and processing to battery component manufacturing, electric vehicle production and the country’s first gigafactory.”

Limiting Foreign Ownership

Further, the Canadian Government is taking steps to limit Chinese investors in the critical minerals sector.  As reported by the Law Firm, Dentons, “On November 2, 2022, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne issued a statement indicating that the Government of Canada had ordered divestitures of three recent investments in Canadian mining companies under the national security review provisions of the Investment Canada Act (ICA).”

Windsor Battery Plant

close-up of a mechanic's hands disassembling an electric car battery on top of a trailer inside a mechanic shop

Recently, Windsor, Ontario, announced the construction of NextStar Energy’s battery plant …the “gigafactory” (photo purchased from iStock Photo).

Recently, Windsor, Ontario, announced the construction of NextStar Energy’s battery plant (the “gigafactory”). The 4.5-million-square-foot plant is expected to employ 2,500 people, including more than 500 engineers.  This plant and their suppliers are expected to be a tremendous boost for the economy in Windsor and surrounding communities.

Managing Environmental Issues

Any type of mining or production will generate wastes that must be managed properly.  In fact, a recent article in the Globe and Mail highlighted the most-contaminated sites in Canada.  The most-contaminated site is the Giant Mine in Yellow Knife, Yukon.  The estimated cost to clean up the site is $4.38 billion.

Our laws and regulations concerning mining have “matured” significantly.  In our March 29, 2022, blog, we discussed some of the environmental regulations that affect mining companies.

As stated in Canadian Mining Journal on October 17, 2022, “The mining industry is undergoing a deep transformation as it works towards ambitious goals of reducing its environmental impact.”

Developing countries do not always have the same commitment to environmental protection.

Climate Adaption Strategy

With a continued focus on climate-related concerns, the Canadian Government has adopted the country’s first climate adaption strategy.  According to a report in the CBC, the plan commits the federal government to new targets for preventing “extreme heat deaths, reversing species loss, and protecting homes in flood and wildfire-prone areas.”

The announcement included $1.6 billion in “jump start” funding.  This funding is intended to improve disaster response and protect Canadians from extreme heat events.

In 2020, the Insurance Bureau of Canada wrote, “According to the report’s findings, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change at the municipal level will cost an estimated $5.3 billion per year, or equivalent to 0.26% of Canada’s GDP.  Studies have shown that investments in resilient infrastructure have a return on investment of $6 in future averted losses for every $1 spent proactively.  Those investments are critical to helping local communities adapt to the changing climate and to reduce risks to Canadians from extreme weather.”

Natural Disaster Data

As we know, Hurricane Fiona recently hit Canada’s east coast causing major damage and killing at least three people.  But the deadliest Canadian Hurricane occurred in 1775 when 4,000 people lost their lives.  Likely, the advancements we have made in early detection, as well as building structure, aided in protecting lives in the recent hurricane.

According to Our World in Data, there is no increase in hurricane landfalls in the United States (no data for Canada) dating back to 1851.  Natural Resources Canada actually shows a declining number of wildfires and area burned from 1980 to 2021, and, globally, cold weather kills far more people than hot weather (see Science News  and Financial Post articles).

Protecting human health and our natural environment are, without question, important and worth our investments.  However, we have limited resources, and we must spend our time and money wisely.

Making the Most of Our Natural Resources

We are fortunate in Canada to have an abundance of natural resources that will play a key role in meeting changing global demands.  Our commitment to environmental protection will help in avoiding further negative environmental consequences.  As we navigate short-term concerns (potential recessionary concerns) and long-term concerns regarding the climate, we need to do so by relying upon data and facts.

We will continue to report on these and other environmental issues that may affect the regulated community in our blogs and newsletters.

Professional Environmental Services

Whether site assessments, remediation, permitting, or litigation support – we can help. We have a lot of resources available to you at no cost, including our in-depth pre-recorded webinar series, Understanding Groundwater Contamination.

If you need assistance with an environmental project, contact our office at 519-948-7300.

This blog was drafted by Alan Hahn.  Alan has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and completed a graduate program in Environmental Management.  He has worked in environmental management for 45 years.  He has written hundreds of blogs and articles.  His published work includes HazMat Magazine, BizX Magazine, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, GreenStone Partners, Manure Manager Magazine, and Progressive Dairy.

This blog was reviewed by Christopher Paré, P.Geo.  Chris is a senior geoscientist and manager of Dragun’s Windsor, Ontario, office.  Chris has more than 30 years of experience on projects ranging from environmental site assessments (Phase One/Two ESA), remedial investigations, soil and groundwater remediation, Permits to Take Water, Records of Site Conditions, excess soil management, vapour intrusion, and site decommissioning.  Chris is a frequent speaker, author, and expert witness.  See Chris’ bio.

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