Sudbury’s most conspicuous landmark may soon disappear from the skyline, or at least puff its last plume of smoke. CTV News is reporting Vale intends to take the 381-metre (1,250-foot) Superstack out of service by 2020 and replace it with two stacks about a third its size, stretching just 137 metres (or 450 feet) high.
Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said she couldn’t confirm the plan, but said the company would be making an announcement on Tuesday regarding environmental improvements and the future of the Copper Cliff icon.
The retirement and potential demolition of the Superstack has long been rumoured; two years ago, Kelly Strong, then the vice-president of Vale’s Canada and UK operations, told business leaders in Sudbury that the Brazil-based mining company was conducting an analysis to determine if it should replace the 1,250-foot chimney.
Vale Ltd. won’t need approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to tear down the Superstack, but it would require provincial government approvals for any replacement smokestack it intends to build.
The Superstack was built in 1972 for about $25 million and has dominated Sudbury’s skyline ever since. It’s made of a whopping 39,006 tons of concrete and measures 35 metres (115 feet) wide at the base, and 16 metres (52 feet) wide at the top.
For years it was the world’s tallest smokestack and did its job by dispersing sulphur and other smelting byproducts high into the air and away from local lakes.
But improvements in the smelting process — such as the scrubbing of waste gases before they enter the stack — have made for reduced emissions in recent years.
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