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Feds spend $800K in North Bay mining explosive developer

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Nipissing–Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota announced Friday an unconditionally repayable contribution of more than $800,000 for North Bay-based Nexco Inc. to help with the development and production of new mining explosives technology. Rota made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor.

Nipissing–Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota announced an unconditionally repayable contribution of more than $800,000 for North Bay-based Nexco Inc. to help with the development and production of new mining explosives technology on March 1, 2024. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)The funding will allow Nexco to design and construct a small-scale pilot plant to modify explosive grade ammonium nitrate during the manufacturing process to produce a water-resistant ammonium nitrate particle.

“The pilot plant will help the company demonstrate the advantages and cost savings of their unique ammonium nitrate product over traditional commercial explosives currently available on the market,” said FedNor officials in a news release.

Part of the funds will be set aside for the design and acquisition of the equipment needed for both Nexco’s laboratory and demonstration plant, which will be used for testing their products.

The project is expected to create 37 jobs and, once fully complete – with all work being done in North Bay and Sudbury.

“Typically when you look at the traditional boosters that are manufactured, they’re manufactured in very specific locations using highly hazardous chemicals and as such, there is a lot of transportation getting them around,” said Nexco president John Burrows.

“We’re able to get a lot closer to the customer to deliver this product.”

Officials said they anticipate that Nexco would be able to produce enough product to supply 11 per cent of the North American market for ammonium nitrate.

An image of an ammonium nitrate product produced by North Bay-based Nexco Inc. (Image from presented video)“The mining companies in northern Ontario, who do the blasting, do the blasting around the work,” said Rota.

“This is a product that will be explosive and will be heard around the world and I’m looking forward to the progress it will have.”

The $809,000 is coming from FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

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