Ontario Premier breaks ground for $2 billion project
Vale’s $2 billion emissions reduction project will not only deliver a major boost to the economy, it will be “good for the lungs of our children and grandchildren,” according to Premier Dalton McGuinty.
He made the remarks while speaking at the June 22 groundbreaking for the emissions reduction project, known as Clean AER, at the Copper Cliff Smelter. McGuinty said he’s impressed that Clean AER actually aims to exceed the province’s air emissions standards — some of the toughest in North America.
“This is a huge project,” McGuinty, who was joined at the ceremony by a number of other politicians, including Environment Minister Jim Bradley, Sudbury MPP and Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci and Mayor Marianne Matichuk, said. “As you heard, it’s the single largest environmental investment in Sudbury’s history, and it’s certainly one of the biggest ever for Ontario.”
The Clean AER project will involve a complete retrofit of Vale’s smelter converter aisle, the construction of a new secondary bag house, a wet gas cleaning plant, a second acid plant, and new material handling facilities to better prevent dust from entering the community.
When the project is completed, Vale’s sulphur dioxide emissions will go down to 45 kilotonnes per year, versus the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year. That represents a 70 per cent reduction from current levels.
The company also aims to reduce its dust and metal emissions by another 35 to 40 per cent.
Construction on the project is just ramping up now, and is due to be completed in 2015. The smelter will continue to operate during the construction period.
“This is a proud day for Vale,” John Pollesel, chief operating officer of Vale Canada and director of Vale’s North Atlantic base metals operations, said.
“It’s great news for all of us who live and work and raise our families here in the community of Sudbury.
“Starting today, with the breaking of the ground with the shovels we have outside here, this is going to signify we are building a lasting legacy for our employees in the community and for future generations to come.”
Dave Stefanuto, the Clean AER project director, said he’s “very personally proud of the project and everything it means to the community and our operations.”
He said the project will require roughly eight million hours of labour, and there will be about 1,300 workers on site at the peak of construction in 2013.
Vale has contracted KPMG to write a report about some of the economic impacts of the project. While the report is expected to be released this fall, Stefanuto gave a sneak peek of some of the statistics it will contain.
“To give us a bit of a preliminary taste … personnel related to the project will probably spend as much as $10 million on rental units in the community,” he said.
“Hotel and motel revenues will bring in an additional $8 million. Retail spending by those involved in AER project will be upwards of $74 million.”
The project proves that mining and environmental responsibility can work hand in hand, Bartolucci said.
“It’s a $2 billion investment in improving the atmosphere, and as we move forward, it will the gold standard that people talk about.”
To call Clean AER a “massive project” would be an understatement, Matichuk said. “With these investments, Vale is making clear its intent it will remain a strong and responsible community partner for generations to come.”
Bradley said the province is attempting to improve the province’s air quality by introducing more stringent air emissions standards and phasing out coal-fired power plants.
“Vale’s new project is another step forward towards a cleaner province,” he said.
“Vale’s initiative will reduce sulphur emissions and build on the progress we made to regreen the Greater Sudbury area, a source of pride to the people who live here.”