Any Canadian who grew up in a mining town knows of the trade-offs that come with relying on a single major employer involved in the metals business. For residents of Rouyn-Noranda, Que., the ups and downs of the commodities cycle have defined their town’s existence since prospector Edmund Horne staked the first copper claims in the region a century ago, leading to the 1922 founding of Noranda Inc.
The mining colossus, whose rise was intricately tied to Canada’s economic development, was eventually absorbed by Swiss-based multinational Glencore in 2013. But its name lives on in the town where it got its start.
While the copper mine closed in 1976, the 95-year-old Horne smelter continues to use imported copper concentrate and recycle copper from old electronic devices (known as e-scrap) to produce 210,000 tonnes of copper anodes that are sent for further processing at Glencore’s CCR Refinery in Montreal.
As the only copper smelter and refinery in Canada, with each relying on clean hydroelectricity to power its operations, the Horne and CCR facilities are critical links in Glencore’s global supply chain as the company aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.