Li-Cycle puts hub construction on hold

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Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. has decided to hold off on construction at its Rochester Hub project until a comprehensive review of the project’s strategy is conducted. The hub and its warehouse are slated to occupy more than 65 acres, or 50 football fields, at the Eastman Business Park.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based company Monday said it plans to wait for the review, which includes “an evaluation of the go-forward phasing of its scope and budget, including construction strategy.”

Li-Cycle received a $375 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year to help finance the battery recycler’s plans for the hub, creating 270 new jobs and 1,000 construction jobs.

The Rochester Hub is expected to be the first commercial hydrometallurgical resource recovery facility in North America. Its hydrometallurgical process produces no wastewater discharge, minimal solid waste streams and relatively low air emissions. 

The facilities intended to support the battery needs of approximately 203,000 electric vehicles annually, advance the electrification of the U.S. automotive fleet to lower related emissions and strengthen the domestic EV supply chain.

The hub also plans to become a significant domestic source of battery-grade materials, including lithium, nickel and cobalt. It is designed to have a processing capacity of up to 90,000 tons of lithium-ion battery material. 

The loan, with a term of up to 12 years, marked the first conditional commitment from the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. It supports the Biden administration’s effort to onshore and reshore EV and critical mineral supply chains, create jobs, and make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, the department says.

The engineering and procurement for the project are largely complete, officials say. The current focus is construction activities on site. Construction costs have been growing, and Li-Cycle expects the total cost to exceed its previous guidance. Details were not disclosed.

The company, which has had a local presence since 2020, will report its third-quarter results on Nov. 13. Additional updates on the company’s near-term plans and the project review process are expected at that time.

Update: On Oct. 25, 2023, Li-Cycle released a statement addressed to the Rochester community. It stated, in part, that the company believes “this is a prudent pause, and we want to say again that we remain fully committed to Rochester and to the development of the Rochester Hub. We are completing a full review of the project, which includes an evaluation of the go-forward phasing of the project’s scope, budget, and construction strategy.”

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

One thought on “Li-Cycle puts hub construction on hold

  1. Thank you. “Officials say” means who? and is this a payback if the project is not deemed a go? And by payback, do the taxpayers get reimbursed?

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