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Northvolt has the green light from Quebec to prepare the ground | The battery industry

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan9,2024

Northvolt has the green light from Quebec to prepare the ground | The battery line

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Northvolt obtained a wetland intervention permit from the Quebec Ministry of the Environment to prepare the site intended to accommodate the largest manufacturing project in the history of the province. (Archive photo)

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Northvolt will begin in the coming days the preparatory work on the site which will house its manufacturing plant batteries after having obtained the necessary authorizations from Quebec, the company announced Tuesday.

By press release, the Swedish company said it had obtained a permit for intervention in wet and water environments from the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change. A building permit from the town of Saint-Basile-le-Grand is also required.

Consequently, Northvolt will begin preparatory work on the site in the coming days where it will build facilities to produce active materials for cathodes and battery cells for electric vehicles, in Montérégie.

In order to obtain authorization from the Ministry of the Environment, the company says it has demonstrated that it has avoided the most sensitive areas and that it will minimize its footprint on the site. Northvolt assures that it has compensated for its impact on wetlands and that it will compensate [that] on natural environments.

This vast battery cell manufacturing project benefited from financial assistance from the federal and provincial governments to the tune of $7.3 billion. In addition, thanks to a $240 million loan from François Legault's government, Northvolt acquired the 18.5 million square feet (1.7 square kilometers) of land that formerly housed the building. Canadian Industries Limited (CIL) explosives plant.

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Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and François Legault were part of the delegation present to welcome the announcement of the choice of Montérégie as the future location of the Northvolt factory. (Archive photo)

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In its press release on Tuesday, Northvolt made a point of recalling that some of the wetlands had been created by humans during decontamination work on the site. These wetlands, she said, have become of interest to wildlife.

Thus, Northvolt ensures that its approach has the effect of avoiding the potential habitat of the least bittern (a heron) and the spiny softshell turtle. It also undertakes to protect the site's intermittent and permanent watercourses with a buffer zone.

However , the company recognizes that it will not be possible to avoid all wetlands during the construction of its manufacturing complex. As compensation, she said she paid $4.75 million to the State Environmental and Water Protection Fund.

In a press release published following that of Northvolt on Tuesday, the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec affirms that the project does not include any significant encroachment into areas deemed more sensitive on the site.

The project land complies with an industrial use provided for by municipal regulations, also says the ministry, which recalls that Northvolt will have to obtain new authorizations to build and operate its complex.

With regard to the battery recycling plant planned in the Northvolt complex, the impacts on the environment will have to be evaluated and examined, specifies the ministry. This is not the case for the rest of the activities that the Swedish company will engage in in Montérégie.

At the end of September, Prime Minister François Legault affirmed that an assessment of the mega-factory project by the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) did not apply in this case – there.

Mr. Legault wanted to be reassuring: We will respect environmental rules.

A document obtained by Radio-Canada revealed that in order to build its mega-factory, Batteries Northvolt Nord-Amérique inc. had asked the Ministry of the Environment last September for the right to fill in wetlands from October. On average, it generally takes 15 months to obtain such ministerial authorization. This means that Northvolt expected to obtain it in record time.

Wetlands of metropolitan interest are protected by the interim control regulation (RCI) of the Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM). Under this regulation adopted in 2022, any construction, any work, any work or any activity is prohibited in these wetlands.

However, the site available to Northvolt for its future factory includes no less than 52 hectares of these natural environments, the cradle of diversity, as described in the CMM regulations.

However, McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand have accepted a delegation of power which allows them to apply this regulation themselves. It is therefore up to these municipalities, which will host the battery cell factory on their respective territory, to assess its compliance.

With information from Thomas Gerbet

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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