How the EV battery boom could change Bécancour, a quiet corner of Quebec, forever – by Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – May 5, 2023)

The countryside city of Bécancour may have finally found its higher purpose: making battery materials for EVs in the global energy transition

Dreams of industrial glory are alive again in Bécancour, Que. On the tidy main streets and busy eateries in this countryside city of 15,000 people, a hopeful buzz is in the air over a wave of new cutting-edge factories set to push up from the ground that could cement the area’s future for decades. An electric vehicle battery boom is nigh.

This is a collection of six villages across the St. Lawrence River from Trois Rivières, grouped together into one municipality for administrative convenience. Each has its own church and local history, and if you’re in the area, Bécancour’s tourism board suggests a hunt for “gnome homes” scattered among historical sites and a circuit of poutine restaurants to satisfy your culinary cravings.

Urban pockets quickly give way to fields, the entirety of it measuring a whopping 494 square kilometres. A massive arrowhead-shaped industrial park pierces eastward from the river as far as the eye can see.

Alcoa Corp. and Rio Tinto Group run a 1980s-era aluminum plant here. France’s Air Liquide SA has a facility producing hydrogen. Chemical makers Arkema Canada Inc., Cepsa Chimie Bécancour and Olin Canada ULC are all present, and TC Energy Corp. TRP-T has a natural-gas-powered cogeneration plant.

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