Business Profiles

Move over, potash: It’s silica’s time to shine

Sio Silica's proposed facility near Vivian, Man.

Sio Silica has big plans for Manitoba

Did you know the keystone province is home to one of the most lucrative and in-demand minerals in the world? It’s not gold, diamonds or uranium, although those are good too. It’s silica— relatively unknown to the public but used around the world as an ingredient in electronics, glass and green energy—and it’s in major demand.

Lots and lots and lots

RCT Solutions and Sio Silica present at the Manitoba Legislature. Photo provided by Sio Silica.

Sio Silica has big plans for Manitoba’s silica—the company’s high purity resource is located in southeastern Manitoba and has readily available access to rail, hydro electricity, and global markets. This opens the doors to future investment in advanced manufacturing using high purity silica.

“Silica has the potential to be to Manitoba what potash is to Saskatchewan,” says Brent Bullen, Sio’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Sio resource is one of the largest deposits of high purity silica in the world. This critical mineral is essential to the 2050 global targets relating to greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonization. The world is aligning this critical mineral with the planet’s goals to decarbonize.”

The Sio resource is capable of making Manitoba a world leader in high purity silica supply, and all things silica. Silica is already utilized in high-tech products we use every day and high-tech products that we haven’t even imagined yet. The opportunities are limitless as new technologies emerge while society advances and the need for items such as smart phones, computers, EVs and so much more increases.

The big idea

Sio is in the permitting stages of silica sand production in southeastern Manitoba, with its own proprietary removal method that eliminates the need for large, open pit mines. The sand is removed from the Carman formation by adapting proven water well drilling air lift methods through extraction pipes. The produced sand slurry is transported to the processing facility. From there, the sand is water washed and dried, and loaded onto trains ready for delivery to markets. This in-demand 99.9 per cent high purity silica is utilized for everything from cell phone screens to solar panels, fibre optics to semiconductors, aerospace to medical glass—essentially the everyday items that keep our modern world running. As the heart of the continent, Manitoba is uniquely positioned for all things silica because of its low energy costs and access to transportation via Canada’s largest inland transportation hub.

Critical mineral

Reaching net zero by 2050 requires high purity silica and the world is facing a shortage. This resource can elevate the province on the world stage, especially as the energy transition takes hold and demand for silica increases due to many countries adding silicon (Si) to their critical minerals list. Locally, the project will also be one of the largest-ever investments into the region, creating 200 to 300 jobs during construction, 90 to 100 permanent jobs and 250 indirect jobs when completed. As well, Sio has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with RCT Solutions GmbH to build North America’s largest vertically integrated solar panel manufacturing facility in Manitoba—a 10GW photovoltaic production facility using Sio’s silica. When completed, the project will add another staggering 8,000 jobs to the province.


“Manitoba is not only home to the resource itself, but is also the perfect platform for future investment for industries that rely on high purity silica to deliver a product. RCT Solutions GmbH is just the beginning. Instead of mining silica to be immediately shipped out, like many of Canada’s natural resources, we can create the processing infrastructure that adds even more economic value and creates jobs right here,” says Bullen. “It’s Manitoba’s time to shine. The possibilities are endless.”

To learn more about Sio Silica and the Vivian Silica Project, visit

Sio Silica Corporation


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