Sherritt International: A CEO’s view on the EV supply chain
Canada needs a better strategy to build up an electric vehicle supply chain and become a North American battery hub that takes advantage of a global push toward cleaner energy.
That’s the parting advice Sherritt International’s outgoing CEO David Pathe has for the Canadian government and an industry set to disrupt everything from mining to automaking, reports Bloomberg.
“Canada as a whole, with some leadership from the federal government, needs to be more strategic about how we develop that industry from a national industrial policy perspective,” Pathe said in an interview. “It takes more coordinated policy from the government to bring all the pieces together because it needs more than just raw materials.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has touted Canada as having potential to be a global leader in making batteries for electric vehicles, electrification, and clean technology. The federal government has made investments in projects including a Quebec battery pack assembly plant and Ford Motor Co.’s upgrade of an Ontario facility to make electric vehicles. Resource-rich Canada also boasts deposits of key battery metals including lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper, and plenty of cheap renewable energy.
“Historically Canada has been a supplier of raw materials to the world - I think Canada can aspire to be more than that,” said Pathe, who hands over the top job at the Toronto-based nickel producer to Leon Binedell in June.
“There’s a role to be played between the government and bringing all the participants in the industry” from project developers and miners, to technology and research firms and processors to identify “bottlenecks” and help foster an EV battery industry.
Nickel and Cobalt
While three automakers recently announced big electric vehicle investments in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, the global auto industry and equipment manufacturers have relied heavily on Chinese companies to supply batteries and raw materials such as nickel and cobalt. The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the importance of securing supplies on a regional level and further strengthen western countries’ desire to end reliance on China.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order to review US supply chains to ensure reliability for crucial goods in late February. The review covers chips along with large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and critical minerals and strategic materials like rare earths.
Green-car pledges from automakers means there’ll be surging demand for nickel used in the batteries needed to wean the world off fossil fuels, and the metal has to be produced in an environmentally friendly way. Demand for battery-grade nickel is expected to be 16 times higher by 2030, according to BloombergNEF analysts.
“Higher prices is the only thing that’s going to spur the kind of supply reaction the world needs to come anywhere closer” to meeting demand from EV adoptions in the next decade, Pathe said.
People Moves: Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Rio Tinto has appointed Peter Cunningham as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Peter, who has been Interim Chief Financial Officer since 1 January 2021, will also join the Rio Tinto Board as an executive director at the same time.
Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Peter Cunningham was previously Group Controller and has held a number of senior financial and non-financial leadership positions across Rio Tinto in Australia and the UK. In a career spanning 28 years with Rio Tinto, he has held roles including Global Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities; Head of Energy and Climate Strategy; and Head of Investor Relations.
Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Peter qualified as a chartered accountant.
Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm commented: “I am delighted to confirm Peter in the role and, having worked closely with him for a number of years, I know he is the ideal person to be our Chief Financial Officer. His detailed knowledge of the company and of the financial and non-financial drivers of our industry will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen Rio Tinto.”
Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson added: "I look forward to Peter joining the Rio Tinto Board and know from experience that his deep understanding of Rio Tinto and commitment to disciplined capital allocation will serve shareholders well and enrich our Board discussions.”
Rio Tinto aiming for net zero by 2050
Rio Tinto is aiming to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050. Across the company, it is targeting a 15% reduction in absolute emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, from a 2018 baseline.
Aluminium is found in everything from cars to phones. But one of the challenges of producing this essential material responsibly is finding ways to decarbonise the process.
Part of the reason is creating alumina – the main ingredient in aluminium – takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will be essential to helping reduce emissions, but many haven’t been proven. And some not yet even discovered. Rio Tinto is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)to develop hydrogen energy options and make a positive step towards these goals.