December 3, 2022

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly at a Tour of Lithion Recycling – United States Department of State

3 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Montreal, Canada

Lithion Recycling

FOREIGN MINISTER JOLY:  Donc – thank you so much to you, Yves, to Christian, Stefon, who invested in your company and, also, I – there were great folks from Rosine to Maxime.  And I was saying to him in French – and I know you understand, but it’s for your English media – that basically he’s – he must be a good boss, because people are proud of working here.

So, we know that the green transition is creating a lot of opportunities – definitely around the world, but here at home as well.  And so, the demand when it comes to lithium could increase up to 4,000 percent; and so in these circumstances we saw the opportunity as a government and we invested in a Critical Minerals Strategy $4 billion.  And we think Canada can become that hub for critical minerals, competing with other countries, such as China; and we think that we can attract a lot of investments here.  And Lithion is an example of that.  We invested $4 million in the company.

And so, you guys in the U.S., you’ve ramped up production of semiconductors, investing $52 billion —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  That’s right.

FOREIGN MINISTER JOLY:  — in that strategy, which is amazing.  But maybe semiconductors or wind turbines or electric vehicles, they all need critical minerals.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  That’s right.

FOREIGN MINISTER JOLY:  So that’s why the world needs critical minerals, but the world needs more Canadian critical minerals.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you.  Look, this – this is the future, and it’s right here, and it’s remarkable.  We’re moving toward a world where we have our vehicles powered by electric batteries.  We’ve seen remarkable advances in that technology.  We know the powerful impact that’s going to have in having a sustainable environment, dealing with climate change, and also dealing with our energy needs.  But to have a technology, a process that allows you, as this does, to recycle up to 95 percent of batteries and, in effect, reuse virtually all the materials –and remake the lithium and other critical materials that go into batteries – is extraordinary, and it creates this virtuous circle.

And what we’re seeing here is also a remarkable partnership between the United States and Canada, between the public sector and the private sector, the incredible innovation that you’re seeing in this company helped significantly by the Canadian Government.  One of our leading American companies, General Motors, making critical investments; and then the recycling that’s done here will wind up in batteries that go into vehicles that are put together in the United States.  And as I said, it creates this very virtual circle.  All of this will be further helped by the Inflation Reduction Act and the provisions in that act that create tax credits for electric vehicle batteries that are made in North America, and particularly in this case using these recycled materials.

So, it’s incredibly powerful, and to see this as a result of the partnership between our countries, between our companies, gives me tremendous confidence and hope for the future.  So, thank you for sharing it with us today.  Thank you.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

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