Canada producing its final pennies

May 4, 2012 at 8:12 AM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, May 4 (UPI) -- Production of Canada's final issue of copper-coated steel pennies began Friday at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, federal officials said.

The centuries-old 1-cent coin was doomed in the federal budget in March and is scheduled to be phased out of circulation beginning in November, officials said.

Mint officials say it costs 1.6 cents to manufacture each penny for a total of $11 million each year, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Credit, debit and check transactions will still include cents, but cash transactions will be rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

The pennies will remain legal tender after the November cutoff and banks will be responsible for collecting and returning the hundreds of millions of coins to the central bank.

Numerous other countries have also eliminated their lowest denomination of coins, including Australia, Brazil, Britain, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

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