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Battery company gets grant for Mercer County project

BEULAH – A company that will process battery materials in North Dakota has received a nearly $115 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, according to Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, both R-ND.

The award will enable Talon Metals to begin the design, permitting and construction of a facility in Mercer County, which will source and process ore from the company’s Tamarack mine in central Minnesota, as well as other potential sources in North America.

According to Talon, the nickel mine will utilize the BNSF railroad to deliver nickel ore to its processing facility near Beulah. The facility will produce nickel concentrate to be used in cathodes for electric vehicle batteries. Talon has a supply agreement with Tesla to provide 75,000 metric tonnes of nickel concentrate and other by-products, including cobalt and iron. Talon will use coal ash from Mercer County coal-fired power stations to help chemically neutralize and harden the tailings from the process.

Hoeven said the project will reduce the nation’s reliance on critical minerals from foreign nations, including China and Russia. The project will establish a U.S. domestic supply chain for batteries, from mining up through cathode manufacturing and recycling.

“It only makes sense to produce and process these battery minerals here at home, which are critically important as we continue developing improvements for the capabilities of unmanned aircraft and other autonomous technologies,” Hoeven said.

“The need for critical minerals grows every day, and we need to take every opportunity to access, produce and process these materials within our own borders,” Cramer said. “Talon Metals’ efforts in North Dakota and Minnesota will help reduce our dependence on foreign minerals from adversaries and countries with lax environmental and labor standards. This investment brings us closer to the domestic production of the critical minerals we need.”

“We’re excited that Talon has achieved this DOE funding milestone for enhancing America’s battery manufacturing capacity, spanning from mining to recycling,” said N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum. “It underscores our commitment to reducing America’s reliance on foreign sources, such as Russia and China, for essential minerals such as nickel that can be processed right here in North Dakota.”

In addition to the grant from the DOE, the company will provide a recipient cost-share of nearly $320 million. The project plans to conduct workforce training in Mercer County and offer employment opportunities to nearby coal communities and tribal members.

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