Demand is suddenly soaring for electric vehicle batteries. Can Canada seize the moment? – by Alex Ballingall (Toronto Star – January 30, 2022)

“It’s still a question mark as to whether these economic opportunities will be realized,” said one expert.

OTTAWA — Business is business, but it’s not Jamie Deith’s dream to sell his precious graphite to China.

The crystalline carbon mineral is among those required for electric vehicle batteries, a 21st-century technology that is sparking what some call a “global arms race” for supplies, refining capacity and manufacturing. But Canada, despite the federal government’s grand vision to get a piece of the action, is still standing on the sidelines of this exploding global industry.

So Deith is stuck fielding calls from players in Asia, where Japan, South Korea and especially China dominate the bulk of the world’s EV battery production. “All of North America is basically zero when it comes to anything in the battery supply chain,” Deith told the Star by phone from British Columbia, where his company, Eagle Graphite, owns a natural flake graphite quarry in the province’s mountainous interior.

“I would much rather be helping develop a Canadian industry than be put in a position where the only way to make the business go forward is to help China’s dominance,” he said. “It’s not the dream come true.”

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