Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 8

8
* MARCH 2024
Lidar no longer on
LeddarTech's radar
The focus is now on
courting software
customers as the
company moves
away from hardware
Red Rock, Ont., offers the right mix of
available infrastructure, community support
and proximity to Rock Tech's planned mine.
SUPPLIED RENDERING
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
Large-scale lithium plant expected
to be running by the end of 2027
Construction is set
to begin in mid-2025;
deal includes $5.5M
investment from
land-lease company
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
ROCK TECH LITHIUM INC. PLANS
to build what could be Ontario's
first commercial-scale lithium processing
plant at the site of a former
paper mill in Red Rock, Ont.
The Toronto lithium miner said
on March 4 that the location along
the northernmost arm of Lake
Superior offers the right mix of
Kenora
Dryden
Ontario
Red Rock
Thunder Bay
Minnesota
100 KM
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CANADA
AND GOOGLE MAPS
Rock Tech Lithium signed
a long-term lease with the
processing site's owner,
BMI Group, a real estate
developer with a focus on old
industrial and commercial
properties.
available infrastructure, community support and
proximity to the company's planned mine. Red
Rock is about 100 kilometres northeast of Thunder
Bay and 60 kilometres south of Rock Tech's
Georgia Lake mining project.
The company signed a long-term lease with the
site's owner, BMI Group, a real estate developer
with a focus on redeveloping old industrial and
Lake
Superior
commercial properties. The binding
deal also includes a commitment
from BMI to invest $5.5 million in the
site.
Rock Tech began studying the
possibility of a lithium processing
plant in Ontario in 2019. It shortlisted
four sites for the project last
fall before deciding on the roughly
50-acre (20-hectare) plot in Red
Rock. If built today, the plant would
be Ontario's first large-scale lithium
processing plant, though a range
of aspiring lithium producers are
advancing similar projects simultaneously.
It
is the second lithium processing
plant the company has in the works.
After striking a supply deal
with Mercedes-Benz in Europe last
spring, the company has been finalizing
the design for its initial plant in Guben,
Germany. Construction on the 730-million-euro
(Cdn $1-billion) plant is scheduled to begin this
year.
The design of the Ontario facility will be based
on the German location. Rock Tech aims to start
construction on the project in mid-2025 and begin
processing lithium by the end of 2027. - ANC
Mitsubishi Corp. backs lithium project
The company, which
owns 20 per cent of
Mitsubishi Motors, has
secured the rights to
25 per cent of output
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
FRONTIER LITHIUM INC. HAS
struck a joint venture deal with
Mitsubishi Corp. to " aggressively
advance " the miner's integrated
lithium project in northwest
Ontario.
Frontier, based in Sudbury,
Ont., said March 4 that the Japanbased
conglomerate that owns
a 20-per-cent stake in automakRed
Lake
Kenora
Dryden
Thunder Bay
Minnesota
100 KM
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CANADA
AND GOOGLE MAPS
Mitsubishi Corp. has bought a
7.5-per-cent stake in Frontier
Lithium's mining project
about 100 kilometres north of
Red Lake, Ont.
er Mitsubishi Motors will acquire a 7.5 per cent
stake in the lithium mining and processing project
for an initial investment of $25 million.
Company CEO Trevor Walker said the deal
is a " significant milestone " in Frontier's efforts
to become a key supplier of lithium for North
America's electric-vehicle battery supply chain.
" A strong, strategic, and steadfast
partner allows us to develop
our world-class asset and focus on
the long-term value creation for
shareholders, communities, and all
stakeholders, " he said in a release.
Frontier is developing a lithium
deposit about 100 kilometres
north of Red Lake, an established
gold-mining region about 500 kilometres
northwest of Thunder Bay,
Ont. It also plans to build a processing
plant on the northern shore of
Lake Superior where it will refine
the raw material from the mine into
lithium hydroxide for batteries.
The joint-venture deal finalized
March 2 gives Mitsubishi rights to
25 per cent of the output. In addition
to its initial 7.5 stake, the
agreement grants it the right to purchase
a further 17.5 per cent interest
once final cost estimates for construction are
completed.
Ontario
Lake
Superior
According to Mitsubishi, the project is expected
to have a mine life of more than 20 years, with
annual production of about 20 kilotons of lithium
carbonate equivalent, enough for about 300,000
electric vehicles. - ANC
LEDDARTECH INC. LOOKS
to redefine itself as sales in its
legacy lidar business run their
course and prospective customers
for its autonomous vehicle
and advanced-driver-assistance-system
(ADAS) software
weigh their options.
The Quebec City company
began the transition away from
making lidar sensors, which use
lasers to help vehicles map the
environment around them, in
late 2022. In December, it finalized
a deal to go public after 15
years as a private company.
Now, the reoriented " pure
play " software company is
discussing licensing deals
with more than 30 automakers
and Tier 1 suppliers, said
LeddarTech CEO Frantz
Saintellemy.
" We expect that one or two
of them will move into development
or a commercial agreement, "
Saintellemy told investors
on the company's inaugural
public conference call on Jan.
31, without specifying a timeline.
Saintellemy
took over the
top job at LeddarTech in
December after years as COO.
Former CEO Charles Boulanger
remains on the company's
board.
NEW SENSOR OF DIRECTION
While LeddarTech is getting
out of making lidar systems, it's
not venturing too far afield.
The company's software uses
artificial intelligence to
combine the signals of
onboard sensors such
as cameras, radars and
lidars. The process that
LeddarTech calls sensor
fusion provides vehicles
a more holistic view
of the environment than
any single sensor, the
company said.
Saintellemy: The reoriented
software company is
discussing licensing deals with
more than 30 automakers and
Tier 1 suppliers. FILE PHOTO
cles, the industry is at " a critical
inflection point in terms of software
adoption, " he said.
LeddarTech sees its sensor
fusion as the way forward for
self-driving vehicles. It plans
to license the software to customers
on a per-vehicle basis,
though currently it's still
moving potential customers
" along the [purchase] cycle, "
Saintellemy said.
Aside from the 30 prospects
with which it has active discussions,
LeddarTech on Jan.
10 announced a partnership
with the China-based automotive
chipmaker Black Sesame
Technologies. The deal will see
the two companies jointly develop
and market a portfolio of
ADAS hardware and software
geared mainly toward Chinese
domestic automakers and Tier 1
suppliers. A launch date for the
products wasn't specified.
LIDAR STILL REVENUE LEADER
But while LeddarTech is
focused entirely on software
going forward, its legacy lidar
business accounted for
nearly all its revenue in
fiscal 2023.
Sensor fusion will also
help bring down costs
by using less computing
power than alternatives,
Saintellemy said.
As with automakers
and a range of other
autonomous driving
technology companies,
LeddarTech today is primarily
tackling driver-assist applications
such as highway assist and
automated parking, but over the
longer term is working toward
fully self-driving vehicles.
" We are at the early stages of
the automotive industry's evolution
from driver-aware to active
awareness and advanced autonomy, "
Saintellemy said.
As automotive inches further
into autonomous technology and
toward software-defined vehiStewart:
LeddarTech
expects
the
last of its
lidar sales
will be
completed
by August.
PHOTO:
LINKEDIN
The company reported
$7.4 million in revenue
for the year on Jan.
31, with lidar accounting
for $7.1 million,
CFO Chris Stewart said
on a conference call.
Service and other revenue
accounted for the
remainder.
LeddarTech expects
to wrap up most of its
final lidar sales by this
August, Stewart said.
Meantime, the company
reported a net loss
of $51.4 million for 2023.
To close out the year,
LeddarTech had about $29 million
in cash on its balance sheet,
Stewart said, and projects spending
$3 million to $4 million per
month in the near term.
" Our expectation is to kind of
hold it there until we have some
customer traction to talk about, "
Stewart said.
The company is also " exploring
additional sources of capital
to meet our longer-term requirements, "
he said. - ANC

Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 26
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 27
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 28
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