Vale delivers a breath of fresh air on the environmental front

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario Mining Association member Vale has officially launched its new $2 billion emissions control project in Sudbury.  The nickel producer had company officials, employees, civic leaders, local residents, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, Environment Minister Jim Bradley and Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk on hand amongst others for the sod turning ceremony held last week.

The Clean AER (Atmospheric Emissions Reduction) Project promises to cut sulphur dioxide emissions from Vale’s smelter by 70% and trim dust and metals emissions by 35% to 40%.  This is one of the largest environmental projects ever undertaken in this province.  It is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and will cut Vale’s emissions well below government regulated levels.

“This is a historic day for Vale and demonstrates the importance that Greater Sudbury plays in our global operations,” said John Pollesel, Chief Operating Officer for Vale Canada and Director of Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals Operations. “Starting today, we are building a lasting legacy for our employees, the community and future generations who will live and work in Greater Sudbury and that is truly a reason to celebrate.”

The reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions created by this project at Vale’s smelter will be on top of the 90% reduction achieved since 1970 through several initiatives.  “Vale’s Clean AER groundbreaking represents yet another chapter in the success story that is the re-greening of Sudbury and speaks to the company’s commitment to the environment,” said Mines Minister and Sudbury MPP Mr. Bartolucci.

Beyond the clear environmental benefits this advance in technology will provide are a whole series of economic spin-offs for the Sudbury region.  Vale estimates completing the project will require about eight million person hours of employment and at peak construction, about 1,300 additional workers will be on site.

An assessment of the economic and community benefits are being studied by a management consulting firm.  Its report is expected in the fall.  However, it is estimated the expanded personnel for the Clean AER Project could spend $10 million on rent to the completion of the revamped smelter in 2015, $8 million on hotel and motel accommodation and contribute $74 million to the local retail sector over the same period.

“This project is massive and will utilize the latest technological innovations available to us to retrofit our smelter complex,” said Clean AER Project Director Dave Stefanuto.  “Due to the complexities involved, we have put a lot of time, energy and resources into ensuring the project is executed efficiently and safely and I’m very pleased that we’re now at a point where construction can begin.”  

The magnitude of this environmental project is staggering.  The Clean AER Project will involve 32,000 cubic metres of concrete, 44 kilometres of pipe, 235 kilometres of electrical cable, 9.4 kilometres of hand railings, 1,400 metres of ladders and 15,500 tonnes of steel and ducting.

“For more than 100 years, Vale and its predecessors have played a leadership role in our community in global mining,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk.  “It is reassuring to see the company continuing this hard work and this project will further cement Greater Sudbury’s position as a leader in environmental rehabilitation and green technology.” 

June 26, 2012
Minerals and metals are essential for the development of clean energy.  Wind turbines, gas turbines, shafts and fuel injectors are made from nickel alloys.  Because nickel is strong and resistant to corrosion, it is widely used in air pollution reduction equipment and renewable energy infrastructure.

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