THE Royal Canadian Mint's Winnipeg facility solidified its status as one of the world's biggest coin-production plants with the official opening Thursday of a 70,000-square-foot addition.
A number of senior Mint officials and local politicians were on hand for the opening ceremony at the Lagimodi®re Boulevard facility.
As reported last year, the $60-million addition to the 180,000-square-foot plant boosts the 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 Royal Canadian Mint is known as both an innovator and entrepreneurial leader in the international minting community," said Conservative MP Shelly Glover. "With this significant investment in its Winnipeg operations, the Mint continues to increase its international competitive advantage and as its shareholder, our government recognizes its endeavours as it expands to pursue even more opportunities in the global marketplace."
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 the goal is to boost its share to 15 per cent by 2020.
All of the Canadian coins the Mint now strikes, including loonies and toonies, are now 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 addition was also set aside for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence for Research and Development for the Mint.
Named after one of the Mint's most celebrated innovators, Bennett said, "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."