Canada’s first wollastonite plant under construction in Quebec

Owner Orleans Resources (OLS-M) has hired Cambior (CBJ-T) to build Canada’s first wollastonite processing plant, in St-Ludger-de-Milot, Que.

Orleans Chairman Jean-Guy Masse says the plant is expected to enter production by mid-1997.

A workforce of 100 will be employed at the construction site and 75 new permanent jobs will be created upon startup. Once completed, the plant will produce 50,000 tonnes per year of high-grade wollastonite products, “with the possibility of a substantial increase and minor capital outlay,” Masse says.

Orleans recently closed a $31.7-million financing with Capital d’Amerique (CDPQ) and Le Fonds de Solidarite des Travailleurs du Quebec (FSTQ), each of which has invested $5.3 million by way of convertible debentures and $7.6 million in a long-term loan.

Guarantee of the loan will be administered by the Societe de Developpement Industriel du Quebec (SDI). In consideration of this guarantee, SDI has been granted an option to buy 489,070 common shares of Orleans at $1.57 per share and an additional option to buy 212,965 common shares at the same price, subject to shareholders’ approval.

In addition, Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources has provided Orleans with a loan and mining tax credit with a combined value of $4 million.

The calcium silicate known as wollastonite is a white crystalline mineral with a unique structure that provides the desired characteristics for such applications as plastic composites and autobody and household parts. With a growth rate of 10% through the turn of the century, world consumption is expected to reach 800,000 tons per year, representing sales of up to $400 million. Orleans expects to gains a substantial share of that market.


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