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Royal Canadian Mint joins fight against COVID-19 by making hand sanitizer, face shields

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(Kitco News) The Royal Canadian Mint has retooled its operations to help fight COVID-19 by making hand sanitizer and plastic face shields with the goal of donating everything to The Ottawa Hospital.  

The plan is to donate more than 1,000 liters of hand sanitizer and hundreds of face shields to The Ottawa Hospital throughout April, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.  

This is the first time since WWII that the Mint began to make something other than what it specializes in — coins and bullion. During WWII, the Mint contributed to the war effort by making items such as military medals and brackets for gun eyepieces.

“Royal Canadian Mint employees have found a creative way to deliver for their community on top of overseeing circulation coin production and distribution, running our refinery, precious metal storage vaults and bullion coin production to keep supporting Canada’s essential mining and financial industries,” Royal Canadian Mint president and CEO Marie Lemay told Kitco News on Wednesday. 

The idea to make hand sanitizer and face shields came from the Mint’s Research and Development (R&D) group. This retooling was made possible after the temporarily halt to Mint’s coin production back in March because of the coronavirus. The coin mintage business remains closed until further notice.

To make hand sanitizer, the Mint chose the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recipe, which consists of only three ingredients: isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and glycerol. 

To get the materials for the hand sanitizer five Royal Canadian Mint employees searched Canada’s capital for hydrogen peroxide, the National Post reported. 

For face shields, the Mint has been using its 3D printers as well as the equipment that is powerful enough to bend metal. 

“Our employees have no shortage of talent, resourcefulness and ingenuity. I’m truly proud of the way they have collaborated to repurpose some of our resources to make a positive difference for our local health care workers,” Lemay added.

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