Mining and Metallurgy | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Aluminum in Canada

    Aluminum is a lightweight, strong and flexible metal that resists corrosion and is 100 per cent recyclable. It is a common material in vehicles, buildings, consumer goods, packaging, power transmission and  electronics. Canada’s aluminum industry began at the turn of the 20th century and grew quickly during both World Wars. In 2022, Canada produced approximately 3.0 million tonnes of primary aluminum, making it the world's fourth largest primary aluminum producer. The country nevertheless accounts for 4.4 per cent of global production. Aside from one smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia, all Canadian plants are in the province of Quebec. Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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    All these workers practised a technology that came from the great French craft tradition; their highly skilled art derived from trade guild knowledge, instruction and scientific treatises.

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    Cadmium (Cd) is a soft, ductile, silvery white metal that melts at 320.9°C and is present in the earth's crust at 0.1-0.5 parts per million. The most common cadmium MINERAL, greenockite (CdS), is generally found in zinc-bearing ores and is recovered as a by-product during processing.

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    Cobalt (Co) is a brittle, hard, greyish-white magnetic metal that melts at 1495°C and that closely resembles iron and nickel. It is not found as a native element.

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    Columbium (Cb), or niobium, is a grey, ductile, tarnish-resistant and superconductive metal with a melting point of 2468°C. The name niobium (Nb) was officially adopted in 1951 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, after 100 years of controversy.

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    Gem-quality diamonds crystallize as octahedrons (8 faces), trisoctahedrons (24 faces), hexoctahedrons (48 faces) or a combination of these. Diamond owes its supreme standing among all the gemstones to 4 specific attributes.

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  • Article

    Algoma Steel Inc.

    Algoma Steel Inc. is a major steel producer based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Its principal products are steel plate and sheet for various industries, including automotive, construction and manufacturing. The company employs more than 2,900 people in Sault Ste. Marie.

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    ​Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used in oil and natural gas production. It releases otherwise irrecoverable resources from certain geological formations by injecting water and additives at high pressure into the ground to create microfractures in the rock. Hydrocarbons can then flow through these fractures into a well. It has become controversial because of concerns that the technique, and well-drilling activity associated with its use, threatens groundwater, surface water, air quality, and other environmental values. Common in Alberta’s oil patch since the 1970s, the practice expanded greatly in this century, triggering gas rushes in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and resistance in several other provinces.

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    The principal use for gypsum is wallboard. Crude gypsum is pulverized and heated to form stucco, which is mixed with water and aggregate (sand, vermiculite or expanded perlite) and applied over wood, metal or gypsum lath to form interior wall finishes.

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  • Article

    Iron and Steel Industry

    Iron is the primary raw material used to produce steel — itself an alloy of concentrated iron with a minute amount of carbon.

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    Iron Ore

    Its most important mineral forms are magnetite (Fe3O4, 72.4% Fe), hematite (Fe2O3, 69.9% Fe) and siderite (FeCO3, 48.29% Fe). In Brazil, some ore that contains practically no other minerals can grade as high as 68% Fe, but the crude ore mined in Canada grades between 30 and 44% Fe.

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    Lead is extracted from mined ores containing zinc, silver and minor amounts of copper. It is also recovered from recycled materials; more than 50% of world metal production comes from recycling, making lead one of the most recycled metals in the world.

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    Les Forges Saint-Maurice

    The most technically advanced ironworks in America in their first 100 years, the forges had long been obsolete when shut down in 1883. The plant employed over 100 specialized craftsmen and 300-400 labourers, and produced forged iron and molded products such as pots, pans and stoves.

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    Metallurgy is the art, science and technology of turning metals and alloys (i.e., materials consisting of two or more metals) into forms suitable for practical use.

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     A mineral is an element or chemical compound formed in nature, usually by inorganic processes. Minerals may be composed of one element such as carbon (DIAMOND) or GOLD, or of several elements.

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