Environmental Code of Practice for base metals smelters and refineries: appendix A

Appendix A: Canada-Wide Standards (CWS) for Mercury Emissions

Endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) June 5-6, 2000

Part 1: Base Metal Smelting66

Rationale for standard:

The base metal smelting sector has historically been responsible for much of the mercury emitted in Canada. However the voluntary application of a number of process changes and stack treatments/scrubbers have combined to reduce mercury emissions from this sector by more than 90% since 1988. Due to reductions from this sector, Canada has complied with its obligations under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Heavy Metals Protocol. Despite this substantial progress additional reductions are possible. As of 2000, the mercury emissions from base metal smelting remain the single largest emission sector in Canada at 2.8 T/yr. Under the federal Strategic Options Process (SOP), industry and government recommended development by CCME of "environmental source performance guidelines" that reflect application of best available techniques. By following this approach, Canada's domestic program will be consistent with international objectives for this industry.

Nature and application:

Based upon the performance of various technologies and practices as demonstrated at existing facilities in Canada, and in consideration of the recommendations made in the federal SOP for this sector, a two-part standard is recommended. This standard reflects the application of "best available techniques" on a facility-specific basis, and a uniform reporting mechanism based upon environmental source performance (atmospheric emission) guidelines. Standards are suggested for both existing facilities, to reflect actions taken to reduce emissions of mercury, and for new facilities, to ensure that smelters utilize the best available techniques to avoid or reduce metals emissions generally and mercury emissions specifically.

Numeric targets:

For existing facilities: application by all primary zinc, lead and copper smelters of best available pollution prevention and control techniques economically achievable to achieve an environmental source performance (atmospheric emission) guideline of 2 g Hg/tonne total production of finished metals.

For new and expanding facilities: application of best available pollution prevention and control techniques to minimize mercury emissions throughout the life-cycle of the minerals in question to achieve an environmental source performance (atmospheric emission) guideline of 0.2 g Hg/tonne production of finished zinc, nickel and lead, and 1 g Hg/tonne of finished copper, and consideration of a mercury offset67 program to ensure no "net" emission increases occur.

Timeframe for achieving the targets:

Existing facilities will be expected to make a determined effort68 to meet this standard by 2008, coincident with implementation of the federal Strategic Options Report, while any new facility will be required to design for and achieve compliance immediately upon full scale operation. Jurisdictions will evaluate changes and upgrades to existing facilities to ensure they constitute determined efforts.

Page details

Date modified: