European private equity investor Pallinghurst Group is making a billion-dollar bet that Quebec will recover from its early blunders in battery materials and become a dependable pillar for supply in North America, as the global shift to electric transportation accelerates in the years ahead.
London-based Pallinghurst has invested more than US$500-million to date in two key battery-mining and material-processing projects in the province, with plans for more.
The company scooped up mining company Nemaska Lithium Inc. out of bankruptcy protection in a partnership with the Quebec government’s investment arm and built up a 15-per-cent position in another supplier, Nouveau Monde Graphite.
“We’re all in” on Quebec, Pallinghurst’s co-managing partner, Arne Frandsen, told The Globe and Mail in a recent interview from his home in Geneva. “I would call it a US$1-billion bet. That’s what we have in our mind in committing to the province.”
The pledge by a sophisticated investor with a solid track record in the sector is a positive one for Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government, which is trying to make good on an ambitious vision to capitalize on Quebec’s carbon-free hydropower and create a lithium-ion battery industry.
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