metallurgy and MIDAS

Metallurgy & Economic Diversification

Metallurgy and innovation changing the economic development landscape in the Koots

Trail, BC:  small, sunny and scenically situated along the banks of the mighty Columbia River, has long been known as the quintessential, one industry town.  Anchoring the regional economy, mining giant, Teck, has loomed above the river and this small but quaint city, employing hundreds, for generations.

Teck Resources Ltd. has owned and operated the smelter in Trail for over 100 years, producing zinc, lead, silver and a vast array of other metal and chemical products. Teck has invested over $1.5 billion over the last 20 years including in significant environmental improvements in emissions (air quality, dust reduction, effluent quality), recycling zinc and lead, and land and water remediation.

As one of the world’s largest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining complexes, Teck also produces a wide variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals and fertilizer products. Teck Resources Ltd.’s Applied Research and Technology (ART) group employs research engineers, scientists and management staff.

A strong network of high-performing service businesses are linked to the region’s metallurgical sector, providing opportunities in engineering, environmental services, safety, construction, transportation, fabrication and recycling, and entrepreneurial opportunities to value-add and spin off manufacturing and technology businesses utilizing downstream non-core smelter by-products.

After more than a century of hosting one of the world’s largest lead-zinc integrated smelters, the region surrounding Trail is a hotbed of metallurgical expertise and industrial activity ranging from scientific, environmental and engineering consulting, to electronics recycling, to purifying smelter byproducts to produce materials for the semiconductor industry and other thermal applications.

What is metallurgy?

Metallurgy is “the science and study of the behaviors and properties of metals and their extraction from their ores.” – Practical Metallurgy and Materials of Industry.

Almost every aspect of our present-day existence is reliant on metals. Vast quantities of steels, aluminum, titanium, copper, and nickel alloys are used for automobiles, ships, aircraft, spacecraft, bridges, and buildings as well as the machines required to produce them. Electricity is almost entirely dependent of copper and aluminum. All around us we see the utilization of aluminum, copper, and steels, often in new applications combining metals with plastics and fiber-reinforced composite materials. Some metals such as titanium and zirconium – impossible to smelt or extract from ores just a few years ago – are now used in large quantities and referred to as space-age metals. There are also hundreds of combinations of metals and nonmetals called composites, along with many new tool steels.

Metallurgy pertains to the materials science, welding, machine shop, quality control, and industrial technology industries, each of which share equal responsibility for the design, development and implementation of metals and materials processing in industry today.

When parts fail, it is up to the metallurgist to find the cause of failure through failure analysis. Metal parts often require a specific strength, priligy precio, through heat treatments and microhardness testing to ensure the level of strength is achieved.

Metallurgy plays a role in the production of metals, from extracting from ores to the casting of metals. Every step of the way, from ore to its final form, metallurgists can study the behavior and properties of the metal(s) and offer their experience, advice and guidance towards making a better product.

Potential behind industrial innovation, academia and metallurgical sector

MIDAS is a public-private enterprise initiated by KAST, a non-profit regional economic development organization, and Fenix Advanced Materials, a private company with substantive experience in commercialization of metallurgical industry by-products. This partnership aims to leverage the region’s technical talent, commercialize new products and technologies through applied research and a value-add approach to smelter byproducts, and diversify the local economy.

Innovative businesses and startups need applied R&D (research and development) support to bring new ideas to life. Academic institutions need “real world” experience for their students (4th year undergraduates to PhD technical and business students).  Selkirk College and College of the Rockies offer trades and technical operations programs that support the mining and metallurgy sector.

Through MIDAS matchmaking, entrepreneurs can access mad brains: students, faculty, PhD candidates (and their labs) at highly subsidized rates to complete research and product development. This saves money and adds incredible growth potential to companies.

MIDAS believes industrial innovation and metallurgical sector spin-offs can create high quality, knowledge-driven jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities to be mined.

Want to know more?  Read the recent report describing findings from the Training and Skills Development survey of 40 businesses from across the West Kootenay region of BC, involved in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors specifically. These surveys were conducted in the fall and winter of 2016/2017.

This survey research is part of a project that aims to identify regional and sector-specific workforce development training needs in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors in the rural West Kootenay region of BC. Specifically, this project will identify and begin to address the technical and business skills training gaps relating to new technology and additive manufacturing.

Capital investment in MIDAS for metallurgy purposes is required and desired. Want to get involved?

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