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Royal Canadian Mint unveils expansion

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Project lead, plating expansion Paul Lefebvre (left), and director, technical and process improvement services Brad Penner stand by the expanded electro-plating line.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI Enlarge Image

Project lead, plating expansion Paul Lefebvre (left), and director, technical and process improvement services Brad Penner stand by the expanded electro-plating line.

One of the world’s biggest coin-production plants is now officially a whole lot bigger following the grand opening today of a 70,000-square-foot addition to the Royal Canadian Mint facility in southeast Winnipeg.

A number of senior Mint officials and local politicians were on hand for the opening ceremony at the Lagimodiere Boulevard facility.

As reported last year, the $60-million addition boosts the plant’s annual capacity for producing multi-ply, plated-steel blanks — the Mint’s bread-and-butter product — and other advanced plated products by two billion pieces per year.

The Mint had about seven to eight per cent of the world market for plated-steel blanks in 2012, and Mint president and CEO Ian Bennett said today the goal is to boost that number to 15 per cent by 2020.

All of the Canadian coins the Mint now strikes, including loonies and toonies, are  made from plated-steel blanks. The same goes for most of the coins it produces for other countries.

About 5,000 square feet of the new addition was used to also create the new Hieu C. Truong Centre of Excellence for Research and Development.

Named after one of the Mint’s most celebrated innovators, Mint officials said the new R&D centre will enable the Winnipeg facility to remain on the leading edge of minting technology.

"The Hieu C. Truong Centre of Excellence for Research and Development will double the Mint’s capacity to innovate and will open new and exciting opportunities to market our proprietary technologies and processes to the benefit of coin customers worldwide," Bennett said.

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