SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2012) - The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) today announced construction of a new mineral processing pilot plant. The new pilot plant, coupled with SRC's existing mineral processing expertise, laboratory and testing facilities, will allow mining companies in Western Canada and beyond to access a full range of applied research, development, process design, scale-up, and pilot-scale demonstration, plus new and improved processes for recovering valuable metals and minerals.
The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Fairview Jennifer Campeau on behalf of Economy Minister and Minister responsible for SRC Bill Boyd, were in attendance today to announce construction. Located in Saskatoon, the pilot plant will enable SRC to provide services and expertise previously unavailable in Saskatchewan, and will allow mining companies to increase productivity and competitiveness in an environmentally sustainable manner.
"Our Government is committed to supporting Western Canada's minerals sector," said Minister Yelich. "Our investment in the new mineral processing pilot plant will help create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity by reducing operating costs for the mining and mineral processing industry, and ultimately, increasing its productivity."
The new pilot plant will support the development and demonstration of new and improved methods for processing minerals such as potash, gold, base metals, coal, oil sand, oil shale and especially rare earth minerals. It will enable the pilot-scale demonstration of new technologies that will be able to increase mining yields and decrease costs.
"Mining and mineral processing are key sectors of our economy, with Saskatchewan being one of the largest mineral producers of potash and uranium in the world," Campeau said. "This pilot plant will ensure Saskatchewan has the leading-edge support capabilities to develop mineral deposits in the most efficient way while minimizing environmental impacts."
The facility will greatly increase SRC's ability to develop, test, scale-up and demonstrate extraction and processing methods for rare earth minerals - one of the few centres in Canada with this emphasis. Difficult and costly to extract, rare earth minerals are in high demand worldwide for use in manufacturing technologies such as smart phones, flat-screen monitors, electric car batteries and aerospace alloys.
"SRC already has a long track-record of providing real-world solutions to the mining industry with up to 65 years of applied research, development, demonstration, and testing support for industries from potash, uranium, gold, base metals and diamonds, to oil sands, oil shales and coal," SRC President and CEO Dr. Laurier Schramm said. "This pilot plant, in addition to SRC's current capabilities in this sector, will allow us to work with industry to test new technologies at a realistic scale of operation, and to solve industry problems with effectively designed solutions."
With the launch of some services taking place shortly, the $2.2 million pilot plant is expected to be fully operational by spring 2013.
SRC is one of Canada's leading providers of applied research, development and demonstration (RD&D), and technology commercialization. With more than 400 employees, $78 million in annual revenue and 65 years of RD&D experience, SRC provides services and products to its 1,900 clients around the world.
For more information, check out SRC's new interactive website at http://www.src.sk.ca.