Canada's Fading Penny


Tue, Apr 29th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Due to costs and usefulness, the copper-coloured Canadian penny, "adorned with Queen Elizabeth and the iconic Canadian maple leaf," was phased out as part of the government's Federal Budget of 2012.

Jordan Vesey, of PBS Newshour, looks at the work involved in retiring a coin, recycling of its metals and how the United States has been trying to follow suit.

So where are the pennies? The mint has been hoarding truckloads of them and American Iron and Metal Co. Inc, based in Montreal, has been awarded the contract to recycle them. When reached for comment, CEO Herbert Black said that he is not at liberty to disclose any details about the deal, which are still being ironed out.

But with boyish glee he remarked, “It’s very exciting. This is the history of Canada.”

Armored cars will transport the pennies to facilities where they will be sorted. Magnets and water tables composed of different chemicals will separate the pennies based on their different metal contents. Because pennies have different densities — those minted before 1997 are between 95 percent and 98 percent copper and in the late 1990’s the mint experimented with zinc pennies and then switched to steel because it was more cost effective — steel pennies will be drawn to magnets whereas the zinc and copper pennies will float. Since 2000 the penny has been 94 percent steel, 1.5 percent nickel and 4.5 percent copper plating



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