by Ricky Daytona

West Kelowna

May 10, 2023

The Federal Liberals are at it once again, wasting taxpayers’ money and throwing it around like confetti. This time handing $13.2bn in subsidies to attract Volkswagen to Ontario to build an EV battery plant. This staggering amount of public money equates to $4.3m PER JOB. The government also has no equity stake in the project.

Of course, the jobs will go to the Federal Liberal voter heartland of Ontario. Not to the prairies. Not to offset the project for the deindustrialisation of the Alberta economy. Another display of marginalization and exclusion by Ottawa.

One of the issues with the EV market is the lack of consumer demand. With terrible consumer reviews, high levels of buyers remorse, and rising electricity prices deterring new buyers. With substantial cost of living increases prospective buyers now aren’t in a financial position to consider an EV.

But wait! The Liberals have plans to counter that. Mandates. Liberals now lean strongly towards harmful extreme totalitarian measures such as mandates. Mandates are a last resort when products and services don’t sell themselves, when the consumer would otherwise decline the product, and where there is no creativity or financial justification for the product, service, law or rule to sell itself to the public. There is a trope out in the mainstream. “Liberal thinking, ideas so good they have to be mandated”. It rings true once again.

Mandates will be enforced upon dealers for EV car sales and mandates forced onto consumers to prevent them from buying conventional gas/diesel powered vehicles. There is no plan to strategize how to achieve this for the longer term without harming consumers in the process. EV’s at all costs and damn your poverty, inability to afford an EV, or lack of interest in driving an EV. The public were never consulted, and just like every other top-down central planner’s dream, these initiatives are brought down upon your head with a hammer (and sickle).

Of course, the counter to this comes from the eco-warrior climate terrorism victim. They will tell us it’s “for the greater good”, and no doubt, “we should all be in this together”. There’s just a small problem. The chemistry used for VW batteries is lithium iron phosphate or lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP). This requires manganese, phosphate, iron, and lithium.

The world’s largest manganese resources are located in two South African mines: South 32’s open-cut Mamatwan mine and Black Rock mine located in Kuruman, South Africa. After mining, drilling, blasting, diesel fuel, electricity made from coal fired plants, water, floatation, chemicals and toxic tailings ponds manganese is made by heating the mineral pyrolusite (MnO2) in the presence of charcoal. Most manganese is obtained from pyrolusite, usually burned in a furnace with powdered aluminum or is treated with sulfuric acid to form manganese sulfate/electrolyzed. Process emissions include gaseous fluorides in the form of hydrofluoric acid (HF) and silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) fluoride, dust, cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and radionuclides.

Lithium is mined in two ways, brine and solid ore. In solid ore it requires the same mining and process as any mineral such as sulfuric acid, diesel, and toxic tailings ponds. Tailings ponds can cause groundwater contamination with metals including antimony and arsenic. Every step of the battery process requires smelting and millions of gallons of fossil fuels, including coal. 500,000 gallons of water is needed to produce 1 ton of lithium, creating water air and soil pollution in the process.

The EV battery project will of course generally be lauded with positive headlines but as usual nobody looks beyond them into the details and grim reality. The least likely to be interested in the fine details are the green energy/climate change crowd. They will simply brush the gory details under the carpet and virtue signal, applauding loudly for more mandates.

This is the reality of “green energy” cited from the UK Guardian newspaper “Child labour, toxic leaks: the price we could pay for a greener future”, 03 January 2021.

“In the case of cobalt, 60% of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where large numbers of unregulated mines use children as young as seven as miners. There they breathe in cobalt-laden dust that can cause fatal lung ailments while working tunnels that are liable to collapse. “Men, women and children are working without even the most basic protective equipment such as gloves and face masks,” said Mark Dummett of Amnesty International, which has investigated the cobalt-mining crisis in DRC. “In one village we visited, people showed us how the water in the local stream that they drank was contaminated by the discharge of waste from a mineral processing plant.”

Green energy? If there’s one thing we should have learned from the last 3 years it is not to trust government narratives, propaganda, ideology, business cases, “facts”, statistics, or other diatribes. One should ask “who benefits” from all this mass industrialization. Transnationals and billionaire industrialists. And through carbon taxes, you dear taxpayer. You will fund it.

Governments at all levels are no longer capable of engaging their populations in debate, discussion, and creativity to form constructive solutions and ways forward. This is nothing short of an environmental disaster. I assume in 5 year’s time we might be told that “the science has changed” and “we didn’t know of the environmental dangers”. Yet we do know, we all know, and those that matter also know. This is driven by ideology, propaganda, and another example of cult-like narrow minded unipolar thinking.

We need to find a better way.