As Vale erects a pair of new, efficient stacks on its Copper Cliff smelter, it is simultaneously tearing down a huge, abandoned building near Fielding Road that, in its day, also helped to reduce emissions.
The structure housed a few peregrine falcons for a spell, too, but those birds — since relocated to an adjacent chimney — won’t be affected, Vale promises, except in the sense that they will have “front-row seats of the dramatic events from their nearby nesting boxes.”
The roaster kiln building, quite prominent as you drive between Copper Cliff and Lively, “operated from 1955 to the late 1980s as part of Inco’s iron ore recovery plant,” said Danica Pagnutti, with corporate and Indigenous affairs at Vale, in an email to The Star. Decommissioning of the structure is now underway and one corner has already been removed, with the remainder to be taken down gradually over the next few months.
The ore recovery plant was “a unique place that was ahead of its time in reducing sulphur dioxide emissions and producing sustainable products,” Pagnutti said, with reference to an article published recently in Vale News.
The story, titled Summer of ’71, shares the experience of retired Inco/Vale worker Pat Thompson, who signed on at 18 as a student labourer at the plant.
“I came into this huge building, with big machines,” he told Vale News. “It was quite something back in the day and I had never been in any place like that before.”
The ore plant recovered slurry byproducts that came from the Copper Cliff concentrator.
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