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. Today, Canada is the world’s fourth largest producer and second largest exporter of aluminum. The country nevertheless accounts for less than 5 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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  • Article


    Antimony (Sb) is a silvery-white, lustrous, crystalline solid. Uncharacteristically for metals, it is brittle and conducts heat and electricity poorly. Antimony melts at 630°C and boils at 1380°C. The mineral stibnite is the most important source of antimony.

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  • Article

    Asbestos (Mineral)

    The name asbestos comes from a Greek word meaning "inextinguishable" (often mistaken to mean "incombustible"). Asbestos is a collective term that is used to designate 2 separate groups of silicates: the serpentine group and the amphibole group.

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  • Article


    Barite (BaSO4) is a white, colourless, gray, brown, yellow, blue or red mineral found in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is composed of 65.7% barium oxide (BaO) and 34.3% sulphur trioxide (SO3).

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  • Article


    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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  • Article


    Chromium (Cr) a hard, brittle, silver-white metal (melting point 1875° C), is widely known for its use as decorative trim on home appliances and automobiles. However, its most important use is in the manufacture of stainless STEEL, which typically contains about 20% chromium.

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  • Article


    Clay is the common name for a complex group of industrial MINERALS, each characterized by different mineralogy, occurrence and uses.

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  • Article

    Coal in Canada

    Coal is a fossil fuel that has been used as a source of energy in Canada since the 18th century. Canada is home to 0.6 per cent of the world’s coal resources. Most of the country’s coal reserves (over 95 per cent) are found in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. In recent years, the environmental movement has opposed the coal industry for disrupting local ecosystems, creating adverse health effects and for its large contribution to the carbon-dioxide emissions that drive climate change. In an effort to curb harmful emissions, the federal government has signalled its intention to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, and Alberta has a plan to achieve the same goal as a province.

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  • Article


    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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  • Article

    Commodities in Canada

    In commerce, commodities are interchangeable goods or services. Many natural resources in Canada are viewed as commodities. They are a major source of the country’s wealth. Examples of commodities include a barrel of crude oil, an ounce of gold, or a contract to clear snow during the winter. Commodity products often supply the production of other goods or services. Many are widely traded in futures exchanges (see Commodity Trading).

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  • Article


    Copper (Cu) is a malleable, ductile, reddish metal that melts at 1083°C. Copper has both a high electric and thermal conductivity. Only silver is a better thermal and electrical conductor.

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  • Article


    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


    Most of the world's feldspar is used in glass-making and in the production of ceramics such as wall and floor tiles and sanitaryware. It is also used to produce glazes and enamels and electrical porcelain. Feldspar occurs

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  • Macleans

    Friedland's Environmental Problems

    "I don't understand. Is this a loaded question?" The line of query had not been terribly abstract.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on September 9, 1996

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  • Article


    Canada's first DIAMOND mine - the Ekati mine near Lac de Gras, NWT - began production in 1998. Most of the diamond production is exported, but a small percentage is reserved for cutting in Canada.

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