Shift newsletter

Rock-eating bacteria could yield billions of dollars of EV-industry upside

Bacteria could unlock billions in battery metals.

BacTech Environmental CEO Ross Orr remembers years ago when the company tested its  technology—which uses bacteria to “eat” around metals that would otherwise be hard to extract—in Sudbury, Ont. The century’s worth of mining waste discarded in the area includes low-grade nickel and cobalt, mixed in with sulphides so “nasty” they need to be stored underwater lest they combust. 

The little bacteria did their jobs, said the leader of the Toronto-headquartered firm, whose slogan is “Our bugs eat rocks.” But its ability to separate the waste into useful products, like inputs for cement, doesn’t compare to the potential economic upside of using the technology to produce minerals critical to the production of EVs. 

“At the time, there was no value for the other products,” Orr told The Logic in an interview. “We think now there is.” 

The reasons are twofold. 

    Enter your email to read this article for free

    By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

    Already a subscriber?

    In-depth, agenda-setting reporting

    Great journalism delivered straight to your inbox.


    Panier Bleu’s future uncertain as Quebec government mulls pulling funding

    1Password acquires Kolide

    Waterloo-based Teledyne to supply Ukraine with more than 800 drones

    Best business newsletter in Canada

    Get up to speed in minutes with insights and analysis on the most important stories of the day, every weekday.

    Exclusive events

    See the bigger picture with reporters and industry experts in subscriber-exclusive events.

    Membership in The Logic Council

    Membership provides access to our popular Slack channel, participation in subscriber surveys and invitations to exclusive events with our journalists and special guests.

    Canada's most influential executives and policymakers are reading The Logic

    • CPP Investments
    • Sun Life Financial
    • C100
    • Amazon
    • Telus
    • Mastercard
    • bdc
    • Shopify
    • Rogers
    • RBC
    • General Motors
    • MaRS
    • Government of Canada
    • Uber
    • Loblaw Companies Limited