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Sarnia-Lambton makes sales pitch to land EV supply chain plant


Already major players in the petroleum and chemical sectors, Lambton County hopes to be adding electric vehicle (EV) parts to its wide range of industry.

“We've been actively engaged with a variety of companies associated with the EV and EV battery supply chain,” said Matthew Slotwinsski, interim CEO of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership.

He continued, “Were really encouraged to see the progress of some of these discussions. Our hope is that the Sarnia-Lambton area is able to land one of these investments in the near future.”

Honda recently announced they will be making EVs and batteries in Alliston, Ont.

They will also need two more supply chain plants.

“They look for communities with a culture of manufacturing as they need to be able to get up and running for very tight start up production,” explained Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer's Association.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left to right), Honda executive Toshihiro Mibe and Ontario Premier Doug Ford walk along an assembly line at an event announcing plans for a Honda electric vehicle battery plant in Alliston, Ont. on Thursday, April 25, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

He continued, “They need a workforce that understands advanced manufacturing, and in a place where that workforce is typically committed to a company for years rather than a lot of turnover they see in places like the U.S. southeast.”

St. Clair Township hopes to be in the mix.

“We have a lot of industrial land here in the St. Clair Township, so we're open for business,” said Jeff Agar, mayor of St. Clair Township. “We have the places and fab shops. We’re just loaded here and we have the manpower.”

After seeing nearby Windsor and St. Thomas land major factories, Slotwinski believes Sarnia-Lambton is the “place to be” for a new investment for the supply chain. He touted how well they thrive when it comes to heavy industry.

St. Clair Township, Ont. Mayor Jeff Agar says his region is "open for business" when it comes to new industry investment. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

"We have large scale Greenfield heavy industrial land, with large utilities with capacities available,” said Slotwinski. “Additionally, our logistics infrastructure is fantastic. When you look at the access to roads, rail, water, and really the opportunity to present into Ontario facilities as well as those in the U.S. as well. We believe we are strategically located to see new investment.”

Volpe believes the major companies are contemplating a short list for their cathode active material and precursor processing plants.

“There's more than a few municipalities and regions that feel like they're in good stead for this including Sarnia,” said Volpe. 

Sarnia-Lambton’s access to rail, roads and water makes them a strong candidate for new industry investment. (Brent Lale/CTV News London) Top Stories

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