Scholz, who is midway through a three-day visit to Canada accompanied by numerous German business leaders, said Canada has “almost boundless potential to become a superpower” in sustainable resource production. Germany is intent to become one of Canada’s closest partners, he added, and the new deals with Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen show the “opportunities are there.”
The MOU between Canada and the pair of automakers lack firm commitments from either set of parties, focusing instead on further “exploring” the opportunities in Canada’s raw materials and processing sectors.
Nevertheless, Champagne said the agreements “cement” the interest of the German automakers in Canada, boost the battery ecosystem in Canada and prepare the country for investments.
“What you saw today is a completely new chapter even for the automotive industry in Canada because now we have the German automakers. We were not even on their radar screen, now we’re centre in their radar, and I think that’s going to lead to us partnering with them in a strategic way.”
Schaefer said the collaboration with Canada is a “great fit” as the company rapidly ramps up battery production and sees its requirements for critical minerals balloon.
Mercedes-Benz is also on the cusp of firming up an agreement with a Canadian mining firm that will build off the deal with Ottawa, Schaefer added. The automaker disclosed it is currently finalizing an agreement with Vancouver-based lithium miner Rock Lake Lithium, which is developing a mine in Ontario. The deal will see Rock Lake supply Mercedes-Benz’s European operations with up to 10,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually starting in 2026.
Schaefer also left the door open for Canadian investments in battery material processing.
“We’d like to refine here as well. The question is, what can you do in a limited amount of time? The capital even needed for exploration and all the other activities needed are huge … so I think we have to divide a little bit the work that has been done.
“Once [refining] is possible and doable, then we will enter into it.”