KEDCO Press Release on Mine Expansion Approval
From the Kingston Economic Development Corporation
Canadian Wollastonite is Canada’s only wollastonite mine, located on 220 hectares of land straddling the north-east district of the City of Kingston and the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands. The largest deposit in North America, Canadian Wollastonite’s mineral resource is stimulating new markets in green manufacturing, environmental remediation, agribusiness and commercial products. Canadian Wollastonite’s long-term goal is to produce economic, eco-friendly and multi-use mineral products while improving the local ecology.
Canadian Wollastonite was incorporated in 2001 as 2005948 Ontario Limited, operating under the trade name Canadian Wollastonite.
Canadian Wollastonite owns and is now mining a world class industrial minerals resource called the Saint Lawrence Wollastonite Deposit (SLWD). The deposit lands are located primarily in the north-east district of the City of Kingston, Ontario and partly in the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands.
On December 10, 2012 Canadian Wollastonite received approval for its mining operations from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, having received all requisite federal and provincial environmental and operating approvals. In doing so Canadian Wollastonite has become the first new industrial minerals mine to be approved in Southern Ontario in 35 years.
With no appeals to City Council’s unanimous June 18, 2019 rezoning approval, Kingston has given the go-ahead to Canadian Wollastonite owners Bob and Jeanine Vasily to expand their zero-waste, zero-tailings mining operation on to their land inside city boundaries.
The decision adds more than 20 million metric tonnes of wollastonite and other high-performance ores to Canadian Wollastonite’s existing mining reserves. Wollastonite is a calcium-silicate mineral with superior strength and durability properties that make it ideal for use in infrastructure projects such as roads and Kingston’s third crossing.
“The wollastonite minerals being mined are significantly stronger and more durable than anything else in our entire region, and indeed in all of Southern Ontario,” says Vasily. “There’s potential for the city to save millions on building projects while also reducing its carbon footprint because this resource is right in its backyard and not hundreds of kilometres away.”
Dubbed ‘a white mineral for a green world,’ wollastonite is an organically certified mineral with carbon-sequestering properties. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, emerging uses include low-CO2 alternative for steel and concrete manufacturing, as an important source of calcium and silicon in fertilizers and animal feeds. It also has been demonstrated to be effective at sequestering (removing) phosphorus and heavy metals from contaminated soils and water systems. Canadian Wollastonite has funded more than $1M to date in research at Canadian and U.S. universities, including half a dozen projects at Queen’s University.
“The close availability of Canadian Wollastonite to agricultural markets in Ontario and Quebec is an asset to reduce chemical use, improve yields and food security,” says Prof. Richard Belanger, Canada Research Chair in Plant Protection at Laval University. His group is working with the company to increase crop plants’ uptake of silicon and calcium to improve their stress tolerance.
“Calcium silicates found in wollastonite mimic Earth’s natural processes for sequestering carbon,” says Bill St. Arnaud, an engineering consultant who specializes in developing green technologies to address climate change. “Investing in green technologies is essential,” he says. “Kingston is fortunate to have such a large deposit of wollastonite within its borders, which could position the city to be a world leader in developing these industries and jobs.”
In reviewing the company’s request, the city cited the company’s sustainable mining practices, its environmental stewardship and its economic benefits to the region. Future use of the site includes carbon-offset and ecological projects, such as greenhouses.