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|Canada's gypsum industry began more than 200 years ago in the Maritime provinces when farmers attempted to supplement their incomes by selling "land plaster" to traders bound for the United States. Rising from such humble beginnings, gypsum now contributes significantly to the economies of nine of Canada's 10 provinces. Thirteen open-pit and three underground mines produced a total of 8.4 Mt (9.3 million st) of crude gypsum, and 17 processing plants manufactured 2.5 Mt (2.8 million st) of finished products in 1985. Recent economic growth in North America has resulted in steady increases in gypsum production. However, competition from foreign producers and by-product gypsum pose a growing threat to Canada's gypsum mining industry.|