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Teck mum on fate of supply contract with 5N Plus

On the heels of 5N Plus announcing the closing of its Trail operation, Teck Metals would not comment on the future of its contract with the high tech division.

The mining giant served as the supplier of specialized metals to the Quebec-based company.

“Our contract terms with 5N are confidential, so I am not able to specifically address that question,” Carol Vanelli-Worosz, communications manager for Teck Metals Ltd., said via e-mail.

“While we are disappointed to hear the 5N Plus Trail facility it closingsher,” she said.

“We do not anticipate there will be any effect on the production or sales of Teck Trail Operations.”

5N Plus spokesman Jean Mayer, said that with in a few months, production will move south of the border, to Utah.

“Being close to resources was a good thing for 5N,” he said.

‘But consolidating our activities will not affect services or affect revenue that was coming from the Trail facilities.”

The Trail company began as Firebird Electronics in 1991, after Johnson-Matthey dissolved operations at Cominco Electronic Materials Group in Trail, and also moved south, to Spokane.

Firebird made its mark specializing in the blending of metals that are grown into crystals. Sold as small discs, the wafers have semi-conducting properties and are capable of “seeing” heat.

“Firebird Electronics, which became 5N Plus, has been a local success story,” said Vaelli-Worosz.

“They were a local customer for some specialty metals produced at Trail Operations.

Vanelli-Worosz said that the company helped to diversify the local area economy.

In 2011, after a $10 million investment from 5N Plus, and a new location, the Trail facility continued to make five-inch indium antiminide wafers, which retail for $5,000 each.

New crystal growth apparatuses and purification equipment had been set up in the new facility.

At that time, the 5N Plus managers had hoped to expand production, to begin producing germanium and gallium antiminide.

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