SK Innovation battery cell
Specifically, SK Innovation wants to build a battery separator plant in this country. Ontario initially appeared to be its preferred location. But Electric Autonomy can now reveal that new public documents show it may end up in Quebec. Photo: SK Innovation

South Korea’s SK ie technology was exploring Ontario for its battery separator plant. Now it appears to be pivoting to Quebec, Electric Autonomy finds

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect a statement provided by SK ie technology after publication as well as to clarify SK ie technology is the specific subsidiary of SK Innovation exploring the battery separator plant.

A major South Korean company is looking to build a new piece of the EV battery supply chain in North America.

SK ie technology is considering build a battery separator plant in this country. Ontario initially appeared to be its preferred location. But Electric Autonomy can now reveal that new public documents show it may end up in Quebec.

SK ie technology is a subsidiary of SK Innovation, which is an intermediate holding company of SK Group. It is the second largest (by revenue) conglomerate in South Korea after Samsung with 175 subsidiaries. SK Group is active in petroleum, alternative energy and oil exploration as well as manufacturing and telecom services.

Battery separators are the barrier between the anode and cathode parts of a battery cell. The separator prevents short circuits. It is a key component of a battery cell and an important part of the domestic supply chain.

SK ie technology first filed documents about a Canadian battery separator plant in April 2023 with the federal government. The following month, SK said in Ontario lobby documents it was considering three locations for the plant: St. Clair township, the town of Ingersoll or the city of Welland.

But Quebec lobby documents from November show SK is now pursuing funding for a battery separator factory in that province.

“Representations to obtain financial assistance under the ESSOR Program to support a project to build a separator factory for electric vehicle batteries,” reads a description of activities.

PricewaterCoopers Canada is representing the company.

A change of plans?

In multiple conversations with Electric Autonomy Ontario’s minister of economic development, Victor Fedeli, said securing a battery separator plant is a key goal for the province.

It’s not clear based on details in this filing what is causing SK to pivot its attention to Quebec.

A response from Minister Fedeli’s spokesperson, Vanessa De Matteis, reads, “While the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade does not discuss economic prospects publicly, we continue to seek out opportunities to promote job growth and ensure Ontario remains a competitive jurisdiction.”

Electric Autonomy also reached out to SK seeking more information.

A representative from SK ie technology provided a statement via email reading, “SK ie technology’s decision to establish a separator factory in North America is currently under internal discussion process. The details have not been concluded yet. SK ie technology will complete the decision regarding entering North America and communicate its final decision within the beginning of this year. The hiring of lobbyist was commissioned by a Canadian local consulting firm to collect information, so it doesn’t mean a confirmation of entry into the Canadian region.”

But, SK already has a presence in Quebec.

In an August joint statement, SK On announced it was a shareholder (along with U.S.-based Ford Motor Co.) in a $1.2-billion cathode plant in Bécancour to be operated by South Korea’s EcoPro BM. The facility is targeting to go online in 2026.

No public document discloses if SK ie technology’s battery separator plant is a joint venture, its cost or potential output.

Electric Autonomy will continue to follow developments in this story.

1 comment
  1. When taxpayers from ON and QC engage in a subsidy battle to pay for a factory owned by a Korean multinational who will keep all the profits, you know the inmates are running the asylum in this country.

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