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VIDEO: Maple Ridge battery company planning $1 billion expansion

Trudeau, Eby in Maple Ridge for funding announcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier David Eby both paid Maple Ridge a visit on Tuesday, Nov. 14, where they announced that 350 new jobs are coming to the city thanks to a $1.05 billion partnership between local company E-One Moli and the provincial and federal governments.

With $205 million from the federal government, and $80 million from the province, E-One Moli will rebuild their facility in Maple Ridge, and the company will become Canada’s largest high-performance lithium-ion battery cell manufacturer.

E-One Moli’s operation will expand to 450 permanent jobs, and become the city’s largest private sector employer.

“British Columbians have long been known for their innovation in the clean-technology space,” said Trudeau. “Today, as we secure a major clean battery manufacturing project in Maple Ridge, we build on that expertise to secure hundreds of middle-class jobs, while fighting climate change.”

He spoke from the inside of the plant, surrounded by numerous company employees, and local politicians, in front of a podium labelled with “Good jobs and clean air.”

“The world is looking to Canada. When we support projects like E-One Moli’s new facility in Maple Ridge, we bolster Canada’s role as a global clean-tech leader, create good jobs and help keep our air clean.”

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“I know from the years that I spent living out here, and my deep roots in B.C. you can see the future a little more clearly from B.C. than from just about any other part of the country,” said Trudeau.

He lauded E-One Moli chairman Nelson Chang for “incredible work” that he said will help shape the global economy, saying “this is where the puck is going.”

“What you’ve been able to build here over the past decades, is more relevant now than one could ever imagine, and is part of the exciting future we’re building,” he said.

The politicians toured the facility near the Golden Ears Bridge, where the company pioneered their batteries, marketed under the brand name Molicel. They are used in motorsports, high-end autos, aircraft, medical equipment, power tools and home appliances. The company started in B.C. in 1977, and has operated from the Maple Ridge site since 1987, as a pioneer in the battery industry, with production facilities in Taiwan.

Eby said the province is charting a course to a zero carbon future.

“For our own future here in a province that is seeing huge wildfires, four years of drought, dried up rivers, overwintering pine beetles decimating our forest industry, atmospheric rivers, heat domes killing people – we know this is where he have to go. We know this is what we have to do.”

“An $80 million commitment from the province of B.C. is leveraging a more than $1 billion investment in this new facility. We are side by side with E-one Moli and with all companies that see a future like that,” added Eby.

Chang said the target is to have the batteries in production by 2028. He noted the cel product that will be produced at the new plant has been designed, but is not yet in production. The company is designing the manufacturing process.

He called the new plant in Maple Ridge “a return to our birthplace.”

“We are thrilled to have chosen Maple Ridge, Canada as a centre of our green energy initiative,” he said.

“We believe that CO2 reduction is absolutely the key to success for all future businesses.”

Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy said he was thankful for the investment into the city’s workforce, which would help support local growth.

“It aligns with the city’s economic development and climate action strategies,” said Ruimy. “This kind of growth and investment in businesses like E-One Moli helps to diversify our tax base and enable Maple Ridge to invest in community infrastructure.”

He said the city has worked beside the company to support the expansion, which he called “transformative for our community.”

After the announcement, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on senior governments to abandon their “multi million-dollar handout” to E-One Moli.

“Taxpayers are struggling and our governments shouldn’t be choosing to help corporations instead of ordinary Canadians,” said Carson Binda, B.C. director of the CTF. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s latest corporate giveaway will cost taxpayers hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per job.”

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