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Sherritt Gordon Mines

Sherritt International Corporation, formerly Sherritt Gordon Mines, is currently a public corporation with long ties to mining innovation in Alberta.

The company was formed in 1927 and for two decades operated as a copper-mining company with a one mine at Sherridon, in the Cold Lake area of Manitoba. In 1945, prospectors for Sherritt Gordon found nickel ore deposits at Lynn Lake, Manitoba. The isolated location of the deposits created a need to develop a new, simpler and less expensive method of refining nickel. It was at this time that Vladimir Mackiw, who would later work at the Sherritt research installation in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and whose name appears in many Sherritt patents, joined the company.

researchers for Sherritt By 1950, Sherritt Gordon researchers had developed an ammonia leaching process that would be feasible for the Lynn Lake mine. They constructed a pilot plant in Ottawa, then a second, third and fourth plant. Results from the pilot plants confirmed that the process would work, and the Lynn Lake mine went into production. It was hugely successful, operating until the mid-1970s.

The ammonia leaching process was the basis for later pressure hydro-metallurgical processes including the treatment of nickel mattes and concentrates, zinc concentrates and refractory gold ores and concentrates. By 1980, roughly 40 percent of the world refined nickel metal using the technique.

Sherritt research facilities The nickel refinery for the mined ore coming from the Lynn Lake mine was built just outside Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. The location of the refinery was chosen for the natural gas deposits in the province, which was a necessary ingredient in the ammonia leaching process. Additionally, Fort Saskatchewan was located on a Canadian National Railway (CNR) line, a precondition in an agreement between Sherritt and CNR for the rail company to build a link to Lynn Lake.

Sherritt Gordon closed its Ottawa operations in 1955, and transferred the Research Division to Fort Saskatchewan. The Ottawa pilot plant equipment was shipped to Fort Saskatchewan, where it was used to form a cobalt refinery, which is still operational. The Sherritt nickel refinery is also still operational.

Dynatec Corporation Logo In the early 1990s, Sherritt Gordon renamed its research division Sherritt International Consultants Incorporated (SICI). In 1997, Dynatec, a Canadian company formed in 1980 as Dynatec Mining Limited, acquired SICI, and the rights to their patented processes, such as the direct pressure leaching of zinc. SICI became the Metallurgical Technologies Division of Dynatec. In 1997, Dynatec became a publicly traded company and renamed Dynatec Corporation. The Metallurgical Technologies Division continues to develop products and processes, providing technology for the global hydrometallurgical industry.

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