With extreme cold weather alerts across most of the province, scientists at Brock University are helping grape growers avoid crop loss.As the mercury plummeted, researchers and students were already out in the vineyards collecting grapevine buds for the VineAlert program run by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario.Back in the lab, scientists have been analyzing the data to track a grape bud’s ability to survive these cold temperatures. This helps growers and wineries know when they should turn on wind machines to protect vines from winter injury and how to manage any damage they may have sustained.“We are closely monitoring this extreme weather across Ontario and sampling in vineyards to determine what impact it will have on bud survival,” said Jim Willwerth, CCOVI’s Senior Viticulturist. “We are then able to provide that timely information to the industry to help mitigate any impact through pruning practices and adjustments in the vineyard to reduce economic loss.”Although the cold snap is set to end this weekend, the work has just begun in the cold hardiness lab. Scientists should know within the next few weeks what sort of impact this deep-freeze has had on crops.
Australian heavy rare earths (HREs) developer, Northern Minerals provides a progress update on the Browns Range Pilot Plant Project, under construction in the East Kimberley region of WA, including the following achievements:• First steel in the process plant has been erected• 95% of the second shipment of equipment and modules has been delivered to Browns Range site• Third and final main shipment arrived at Darwin Port on 16th of December and has been unloaded• Concrete progressing well with over 1,000 m3 now pouredThrough the development of this flagship project, Northern Minerals aims to be the first significant world producer of dysprosium outside of China. The project is 100% owned by Northern Minerals and has several deposits and prospects containing high value dysprosium and other HREs, hosted in xenotime mineralisation.Dysprosium is an essential ingredient in the production of DyNdFeB (dysprosium neodymium iron-boron) magnets used in clean energy and high technology solutions.The three-year R&D pilot plant project will commence first production of heavy rare earth carbonate in Q3 2018. The pilot plant development provides the opportunity to gain production experience, surety of supply for the offtake partner and assess the economic and technical feasibility of the larger full-scale development.Primero Group is nearing completion of the concrete works in the beneficiation plant area and is making good progress with concrete works in the hydrometallurgical plant area, with the milestone of 1,000 m3 poured on site. This represents over 67% concrete works complete.The picture shows an aerial view of the pilot plant, rom pad and ore stockpilesDelivery of the second main shipment of equipment and modular components to Browns Range has commenced with over 95% of the shipment already delivered to site.The third main shipment, consisting of 33% of the total modular process plant and equipment arrived at the Darwin Port on 16 December and will be delivered to Browns Range over the coming weeks.George Bauk, Managing Director and CEO, presented at a symposium for emerging technologies and new suppliers of critical materials in the global supply chain for electric vehicles in New York. Feedback included that a combination of heavy rare earths can be used as a substitute for scandium. This is planned to be investigated in the future as a way of extracting further value from the Browns Range product suite.