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From mining to recycling: Embracing the clean industrial revolution in Rochester

From mining to recycling: Embracing the clean industrial revolution in Rochester

I made a leap of faith two years ago and moved from Missouri to make Rochester my permanent home. My motivation was mainly based on better education opportunities for my family and to discover a place where we could truly belong. Rochester checked off those boxes.

Living a nomadic lifestyle, thanks to my father’s military service and my previous 15-year mining career, I had the opportunity to explore the varied landscapes of five continents. These experiences provided me with a deep understanding of the complexities — and the impacts — associated with metal extraction. Although there are limited alternative options, I knew that these processes would come at a cost for our environment.

Ultimately, my interest in sustainability compelled me to realign my professional pursuits. In 2008, I made a conscious decision to transition from mining to recycling. Through my work in recycling, I realized the importance of being a part of next-generation technologies and processes for a better future.

When I first came to Rochester, I saw parallels to what I had seen through my own experiences on this transition. As the world moves to clean energy, there are great opportunities to embrace these next-generation technologies. I would love to participate in the renovation of Rochester in becoming this new type of industrial leader. The Rochester community has talent, and it can be applied in the right way to seize these new opportunities.

My company, Li-Cycle, is dedicated to recycling lithium-ion batteries through their innovative technologies. Since establishing its first U.S.-based facility in Rochester 2020, it and has received a warm welcome. Notably, the company’s investment in Monroe County stands out as one of the largest over the past two decades. The Hub facility that we are building here, which is partly being financed by a $375 million loan commitment from the Department of Energy, is set to become the largest source of recycled lithium (a key material for electric vehicle batteries) in North America. It’s projects like our Hub that will help make Rochester a center for innovation and clean tech and help create more sustainable and diverse energy systems in the U.S. to support the revolution towards electrification.

To develop this facility, we’ll need 1000 people during construction and will eventually have 270 full-time employees. This is an opportunity for industrial operators, industrial electricians, mechanical maintenance technicians, and instrumentation technicians once rooted in the old industry to be a part of the clean energy future, and the green collar jobs that are needed for that transition.

It’s the right time for Rochester to be a key part of the new thriving hub for clean technology, innovation, and advancement. This will require continued support from the local community and the positive influence of forward-thinking companies.

Anthony Staley is vice president, North American Hub, Li-Cycle