Research & Development Corporation and Iron Ore Company of Canada Investment Bolsters Mineral Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland

ST. JOHN'S, NL, May 13 /CNW/ - Newfoundland and Labrador's iron ore industry is about to be seen in a whole new light thanks to a more than $1 million infrastructure investment announced today by the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) and the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC).

New state-of-the-art mineral analysis equipment, known as a Field Emission Gun Scanning Electron Microscope with automated Mineral Liberation Analyses (MLA) software, will be purchased by Memorial University of Newfoundland. The improved resolution and imaging capabilities of this instrument will allow researchers to distinguish between intergrown minerals on a very fine scale. RDC's $996,178 investment leverages an IOC investment of $250,000. RDC funding is provided under the Research Tools and Equipment element of its April 2010 $10 million competitive call for R&D infrastructure proposals.

"Collaboration is the key to future success and growth of Newfoundland and Labrador's mineral industry," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "This province has a diversified minerals industry that provides a wide variety of commodities to the world market. The forecasted gross value of mineral shipments for 2011 is $4.7 billion and exploration expenditures for this year are expected to be $122 million. Today's funding will allow industry and our academic communities to work together ensuring our mineral resources can be developed in a sustainable manner."

The mineral industry is one of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest industries, noted Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer, RDC.

"Today's investment marks an important milestone in mineral research and will ensure researchers have the technical and industrial equipment they need to bolster this province's mineral research strengths and contribute to mineral industry exploration and development," he said.

With this new equipment, researchers can estimate and optimize the iron recovered in rock during the mining process for the province's largest mineral export, iron ore. Memorial has developed advanced methods to distinguish between the different minerals in test samples. The new equipment will employ these advanced methods to optimize iron recovery and feed throughput during the concentrating process. Providing a better understanding of ore concentrate characterization can lead to efficiencies in processing as well as increased product quality and subsequent value of the province's mineral assets.

"IOC is proud to partner with Memorial University in this research utilizing the MLA technology," said Robert Branton, General Manager of Product Manufacturing with IOC. "Our expectation is through collaboration with Memorial University we will be able to advance our knowledge of the impact of ore quality characteristics on our processing facilities.  This will ultimately allow for optimization of the overall mine to mill production chain."

"This highly-specialized equipment enhances our capacity for mineral analysis and is critical to our research collaborations with the IOC," added Dr. Christopher Loomis, Vice-President (Research) of Memorial University. "Our expectation is that the research potential of the new instrument, coupled with the collaboration with IOC, will transform the way that iron ore is mined in Labrador."

The new equipment will be a part of Memorial's Core Research Equipment And Instrument Training (CREAIT) Network and will be housed in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation on its St. John's campus.

About the Research & Development Corporation
The Research & Development Corporation (RDC) is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador's R&D performance. RDC works with R&D stakeholders including industry, academia and government agencies and departments. In April 2010, RDC issued a $10 million competitive call for R&D infrastructure proposals, focusing on research tools and equipment and R&D platforms (i.e., dedicated research facilities) that encourage collaboration with industry. For more information about RDC, go to www.researchnl.com.

About Iron Ore Company of Canada
The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in Canada and its customer base covers North American, European and Asian steel producers. The Company operates a mine, concentrator and a pelletizing plant in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as port facilities located in Sept-Îles, Quebec. It also operates a 418-kilometre railroad that links the mine to the port. IOC has approximately 1,900 employees and its major shareholder and operator is the international mining group Rio Tinto, which has activities in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

About Memorial University
Founded in 1925 as a memorial to Newfoundland's war dead, Memorial University College was elevated to degree-granting status in 1949 as Memorial University of Newfoundland. Today, the university is the largest in Atlantic Canada, with about 18,000 students. Memorial provides excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in virtually all disciplines. With locations in St. John's and Corner Brook in Newfoundland, Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador, the French-owned island of Saint-Pierre, and Harlow in England, Memorial is committed to experiential learning. The university's many interdisciplinary programs abound with opportunities for experiential learning, ranging from on-campus employment to work terms around the world. Outstanding research and scholarship, extraordinary teaching and a focus on community service are the university's hallmarks. Many teaching and research activities reflect our mid-North Atlantic locations; these unique settings and our cultural heritage have led to the creation of highly-regarded academic programs and specialized facilities in areas such as music, linguistics, folklore and human genetics, as well as earth sciences, cold-ocean engineering, rural health care and archaeology. For more information about Memorial University of Newfoundland, go to www.mun.ca.

SOURCE Research

For further information:

Media contacts:

Jeff Green
Manager, Communications & Marketing
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0973, 691-8892
jeffsgreen@researchnl.com

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290
scottbarfoot@gov.nl.ca

Heather Bruce-Veitch
Director, External Relations
Iron Ore Company of Canada
709-722-4200
heather.bruce-veitch@ironore.ca

Meaghan Whelan
Communications Co-ordinator
Office of the Vice-President (Research)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
709-864-4073, 687-9243
mcwhelan@mun.ca

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