Industrial Minerals in 2004
Peat moss >>
- In 2004, Graymont announced major investments at its Bedford
and Marbleton plants. At Bedford, $10 million will be invested
to increase the hourly production rate of quicklime from 400 to
600 metric tonnes. The increase in price of natural gas over the
past few years has forced Graymont to convert one of its two furnaces,
which have been shut down for a year, to another source of energy.
In 2005, Graymont’s production should be comparable to that
- The demand for limestone products, mainly cement, should increase
sufficiently to maintain an upward pressure on prices.
- Chrysotile shipments increased slightly in volume (about 2.5%),
thanks mainly to strong growth in the Asian demand for chrysotile-based
building materials. However, strong appreciation of the Canadian
currency compared to the American dollar and the competition Québec
mines face on international markets from other producers have
led to a 15% decrease in the price of fiber compared to 2003.
- During 2004, the Jeffrey Mine operated intermittently and produced
about 50,000 tonnes. On December 21, the Superior Court approved
a settlement accepted in the autumn by shareholders and creditors.
- LAB Chrysotile announced the suspension, for an indefinite period,
of activities at the Lac d’Amiante mine starting in November,
2004. The company’s entire production will come from the
Bell underground mine.
- Several scientific articles published in 2004 confirmed that
chrysotile fiber has a very low toxicity and that products containing
chrysotile are safe when the fiber is encapsulated. Two studies
carried out in the United Stated and the United Kingdom have for
example demonstrated that over the last 100 years, workers involved
in the fabrication, installation, maintenance, and removal of
friction and fiber-cement products have not suffered from diseases
associated with exposure to this fiber.
The Dolomex plant at Portage-du-Fort, acquired
by Cambior at the beginning of 2004, closed in October of the same
year. Dismantling of the plant and site restoration should be completed
by the summer of 2005.
- In 2004, the Lac-des-Îles mine near Mont-Laurier maintained
production comparable to the level in 2003. An intensive program
to develop a new pit has been undertaken.
- The production of exfoliated graphite at the Timcal plant in
Terrebonne was similar to that in 2003. Timcal has started using
concentrate from its Lac-des-Îles plant as part of the feed
required for its Terrebonne plant. The remainder of the feed comes
- In January, QIT-Fer et Titane announced a project of about $500
million to modernize its metallurgical complex in Sorel. With
this investment, the annual production of enriched slag (UGS)
will increase from 250,000 to 325,000 tonnes. However, this should
have little impact on the production level at the Lac Tio Mine
- In 2004, Mica Suzorite produced more than 160,000 tonnes of
ore at its Bédard mine near Parent. This amount should
be sufficient to feed the Boucherville treatment plan for the
next four years. As the automobile sector, which accounts for
about 60% of mica production, is anticipated to decline in 2005,
demand for mica could be lower in 2005.
- The production of stone and building materials was similar to
the level in 2003.
- Glendyne, the world’s second largest producer of natural
slate, plans to increase its production from 20,000 to 40,000
tonnes in the next few years. The company plans to develop byproducts
from waste (for concrete, roofing tar, paints, etc.) as well as
new markets in landscaping and slate flooring.
- Junex began production at two new brine wells in the Bécancour
area. Daily production from these two wells was 30,000 liters.
Including these two new wells, Junex had eight brine wells in
production in 2004. In addition, the company is about to start
production at its primary transformation pilot plant where natural
brine will be converted into more concentrated brine (33% dissolved
salts instead of the current 24%).
- Mines Seleine, property of Rohm and Haas of Philadelphia, maintained
its Québec production of about 1.25 Mt of sodium chloride
(NaCl). The salt produced is used mainly in the de-icing of Québec’s
- Exploration Québec/Labrador Inc. extracted a 13,000-tonne
sample of silica from its Lac Daviault quartzite deposit, near
Fermont, to supply a Thetford Mines customer. In 2005, production
of silica from the quartz quarry should double, reaching more
than 20,000 tonnes. The company expects to be able to invest nearly
$2 million and thus be able to supply other markets (silicon metal,
silica glass, and high quality glass).
- Unimin Canada Inc. is Canada’s largest silica producer.
The company has two deposits in production: a quartzite deposit
at Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm and a siliceous sandstone deposit at
Saint-Canut. It also operates silica sand production plants at
both quarries. Production in 2004 was similar to that in 2003.
Markets should remain stable in 2005.
- In October 2004, Les Pierres Stéatite Inc. closed its
dimension stone plant in the Saint-Pierre-de-Broughton area and
moved it to the 7th Concession road in East-Broughton,
close to the quarry. The company specializes in the production
of blocks for sculpting, refractory stone for stoves, and monumental
stone. Production slowed slightly in 2004 compared to 2003. The
company hopes to develop the European market in order to return
to its 2002 production level.
- Peat moss production declined severely in 2004, due mainly to
a rainy summer that made harvesting very difficult. However, the
volume of shipments and the value of sales in 2004 increased by
12 and 26%, respectively, compared to 2003.
- In March 2004, Premier Tech Ltd. opened a commercial office
in Mexico in order to demonstrate the advantages of using peat
moss in the production of forest plants. Also, Premier Tech Environnement
recently received a second favorable notice from the Secrétariat
de la Commission des avis techniques français for
its peat moss filter process Ecoflo.