Sherritt International is a resources company built from the bricks of a Canadian nickel miner, which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, shown by the timeline in this article.
Sherritt International is a resources company built from the bricks of a Canadian nickel miner, which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, shown by the timeline in this article. Despite the intervening decades and corporate upheavals, Sherritt is still a nickel company grounded in the strength of its research, technical innovation and operational expertise. But it has become international, and is aggressively focusing on growth in all its business units–metals, coal, power generation, and oil and gas.
In a recent two-hour interview with the company’s president and CEO Jowdat Waheed at its uptown Toronto head office, I learned that Sherritt has decided to get its story in front of the public, which prompted Waheed to invite me to visit the company’s metals, technology and coal offices and facilities in western Canada followed by a trip to see its Cuban assets, all in four days in early February. It is from this brief immersion that I bring you a snapshot of Sherritt International, today.
This is by far the largest part of the company, bringing in 62% of Sherritt’s revenue and 80% of its operating earnings in the first nine months of 2007.
In fact, Sherritt International’s raison d’etre is pressure hydrometallurgical technology. Using ideas first put forward by Frank Forward of the University of British Columbia, the research group (called Sherritt Technologies) designed and built a plant in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., to extract nickel and cobalt from concentrate from its mine in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, using a process that deviated markedly from pyrometallurgy (smelting) that was the then-current technology, and which continues to dominate the base metal extraction industry in Canada today.
Hydrometallurgy has one big environmental advantage over smelting: the former emits no SO2, the main cause of acid rain. The sulphur is captured and used to make elemental sulphur or combined with ammonia to make fertilizer.
Sherritt Technology went on to develop pressure hydrometallurgical processes for other metals including gold, zinc, copper and urani- um; so far it has licensed more than 35 commercial partners to use Sherritt technology. The Technologies group continues to be in the forefront of pressure hydrometallurgical technology, offering clients concept development and testing in their lab in Fort Saskatchewan, scaling up the design to commercial size, as well as help with construction, commissioning and ongoing help with operations.
From its half-century bank of experience as well as ongoing tweaking of the Fort Saskatchewan nickel hydrometallurgical plant, the Technology group can now forego the expensive and lengthy progression of bench test, mini pilot plant, pilot plant and demonstration plant. Now they go directly from the small scale pilot plant tests with 1-2-tonne (t) samples, and scale up to the commercial plant. “One of our great strengths is that we are not only technologists, we are also operators. We are actually selling our know-how,” says Robin Kalanchey, business development manager for Sherritt Technologies.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/features/marching-to-a-different-drum/