Greene Lyon to research eco-friendly gold recovery in Laval

By Robert Frank

For decades, trainloads of scrap computers and other electronics and industrial products have trundled as far-off as Rouyn-Noranda to be smelted.

That’s because the precious metals coating their circuitry make them—sometimes literally—a gold mine. They’re also a treasure-trove of valuable metals such a nickel, silver, platinum, palladium and lead.

Melting them down uses much less energy than mining and smelting raw ore. But traditional foundries still spew tonnes of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

Greene Lyon Canada wants to change that. The company has announced that it will invest $3.3 million in a new research centre in Laval’s Biotech City, where it will develop precious metal recovery processes that respect the environment.

“Our processes are based on green chemistry and engineering principles,” said Greene Lyon Canada Research Centre director Svitlana Grigorenko.

She said that the new recycling method is more effective and efficient than current methods, wasting less of the valuable metals.

“It’s another demonstration of Laval’s success at attracting research and development firms,” enthused Laval Technopole vice-president Gilbert LeBlanc. “They like the proximity of future clients and suppliers.”

LeBlanc said that the research into the physical-chemical metal extraction process will create another three to five top-calibre research jobs at the 3,000 sq.ft. laboratory at 500 Cartier in Laval’s Biotech City.

“There’s potential for another plant opening, if Phase II of the project should come to fruition,” he added. “We’re very pleased that they chose Laval to locate. Laval Technopole will be there to help Greene Lyon, if it decides to proceed with the next phase of its endeavor here.”

Greene Lyon’s investment is the latest in a string of triumphs during the past six years, under the stewardship of Laval Technopole president Pierre Desroches, who turned 70 this year.

“The investment reflects the excellence radiating from more than 85 companies, including a number of international research centres,” Desroches said.

On Dec. 13, two days after The Suburban reported last week that Desroches would be relinquishing his post at the end of this month, Laval Technopole issued a statement confirming his departure.

During his tenure, he led Technopole to attract an extraordinary $9 billion in investment in Laval’s economy.

“In 2012 alone, some 67 new projects and 649 expansions led to the creation of 2,254 jobs,” noted vice-chairman Alexandre Jarry.

The statement said that two vice-presidents will run Technopole under the supervision of its executive committee, while awaiting the selection of a new chief executive officer.

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