Environmental Code of Practice for base metals smelters and refineries: summary
Various environmental initiatives and legislation provide context for the development of an Environmental Code of Practice for the base metals smelting and refining sector.
Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), there are provisions for developing regulations, objectives, guidelines, and codes of practice and for requiring pollution prevention plans. The Fisheries Act includes provisions for developing regulations to manage the release of deleterious substances to Canadian fishery waters.
The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment sets nationwide standards for various toxic substances and also agreed on the development of comprehensive Multi-pollutant Emission Reduction Strategies for various industrial sectors as a means for achieving the standards.
Canada is committed to reducing emissions under international agreements such as the 2000 Ozone Annex under the 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
Base metals smelters and refineries release various substances found on the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 to CEPA 1999. A multistakeholder consultation, called the Strategic Options Process, was conducted in 1996-1997 and resulted in several recommendations for the management of toxic substances from the sector. These recommendations included the development of environmental performance standards.
These provisions are taken into account in the development of this Environmental Code of Practice for Base Metals Smelters and Refineries.
S.2 Code Objectives
The overall objectives of the Environmental Code of Practice are to identify and promote recommended practices as requirements for new facilities and as goals for continual improvements for existing facilities.
S.3 Code Scope, Development, and Implementation
The Environmental Code of Practice for Base Metals Smelters and Refineries includes descriptions of processes used in the sector and associated environmental concerns, as well as recommended environmental performance standards for mitigating these concerns.
The recommended practices in the Code include guidance for environmental management systems and guidelines for environmental releases to air, water, and land, based on best available techniques for pollution prevention and control.
The Code has been developed by Environment Canada in consultation with a Base metals Environmental Multistakeholder Advisory Group.
Potential options for the implementation of the Code include:
- voluntary adoption by a corporation and/or a facility;
- use as performance standards for environmental audits;
- use as a benchmark for public corporate commitments and performance reporting;
- inclusion as a commitment in an environmental performance agreement between a corporation and/or a facility and environmental protection agencies;
- inclusion of some or all of the Code recommendations as requirements by financial lending institutions and/or insurance companies or underwriters; and
- use of some of the Code recommendations as the basis for provincial/territorial regulations or permits or federal regulations.
S.4 Smelter and Refinery Operations and Environmental Concerns
In smelters and refineries, ores and concentrates are supplied from mines and mills, and recycled material is supplied for further recovery and purification of metals. This Code of Practice applies to both smelters and refineries of primary copper, primary and secondary lead, primary zinc, primary nickel, and primary cobalt.
Operations in this sector can include:
- pre-treatment of the ores, concentrates and recycled material;
- fire refining;
- carbonyl refining;
- casting; and
- process off-gas conditioning.
Pollutant releases of concern associated with these operations include:
- process air emissions from stacks;
- process air emissions from unenclosed process equipment and buildings;
- fugitive air emissions from outdoor storage piles and during transfers of materials;
- releases of pollutants accidentally or in environmental emergency;
- water effluents from processes;
- water effluents from site runoff; and
- slags, sludges, slimes, and other residues and wastes.
Pollutant releases of concern in facility air emissions include:
- sulphur dioxide;
- particulate matter, including particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microns in size (PM10) and particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5);
- certain heavy metal compounds; and
- certain organic compounds.
In addition to effluent acidic or alkaline pH, the following substances in water effluents and contaminated surface water and groundwater are of concern:
- suspended and dissolved solids and metals; and
- oil and grease.
S.5 Recommended Environmental Protection Practices
|Number||Subject||Summary of Recommendations: Environmental Management Systems|
|R 101||Environmental Policy Statement||Each company should develop and implement an environmental policy statement.|
|R 102||Environmental Management Systems||Each facility should develop, implement, and maintain an environmental management system in accordance with ISO 140011 or an equivalent standard or system.|
|R 103||Environmental Management Plans||
Each facility should develop and implement a site-specific environmental management plan, consistent with the Environmental Management Plan Guidance Document for the Base Metals Smelting Sector.2 The plan should include, as a minimum, the following:
|R 104||Environmental Assessment||Environmental assessment principles should be followed by companies for new and significantly modified or expanded facilities, consistent with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Reference Guide,3 Table 1.|
|R 105||Pollution Prevention Planning||Each facility should develop and implement a pollution prevention plan, consistent with Environment Canada's Pollution Prevention Planning Handbook4or in compliance with any Pollution Prevention Plan Notification issued under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.|
|R 106||Emergency Planning||Each facility should develop and make publicly available an environmental emergency plan, consistent with Environment Canada's Implementation Guidelines for Part 8 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 - Environmental Emergency Plans.5|
|R 107||Decommissioning Planning||A facility should begin planning for decommissioning in the design stage of the project life cycle for new facilities and as early as possible in the operating stage for existing facilities. Site closures and associated decommissioning activities should be undertaken by the facility, consistent with the National Guidelines for Decommissioning Industrial Sites.6|
|R 108||Environmental Training||Each facility should establish and maintain procedures to identify its environmental training needs and ensure that all personnel who work in areas that may create a significant adverse impact upon the environment have received training.|
|R 109||Environmental Facility Inspection||Each facility should develop and implement an environmental inspection plan.|
|R 110||Environmental Auditing||Each facility should conduct periodic environmental audits by internal, corporate, or third-party auditors.|
|R 111||Environmental Performance Indicators||Each facility should develop a set of environmental performance indicators that can provide an overall measure of the facility's environmental performance.|
|R 112||Product Stewardship||Each company should develop and implement a product stewardship program aimed at minimizing the environmental impacts associated with the products used and produced by the facility and under the control of the company.|
|R 113||Public Reporting||Documented procedures for the monitoring and reporting of environmental performance to the public should be developed and implemented by the facility, consistent with the Guidance Document for Reporting Releases from the Base Metals Smelting Sector7 and taking into account the Global Reporting Initiative's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines8 for the mining and metals sector.|
|R 114||Community Advisory Panel||Each facility should establish a Community Advisory Panel with representatives from the surrounding community, in order to provide a forum for the review and discussion of facility operations and associated environmental and other concerns.|
|Number||Subject||Summary of Recommendations: Atmospheric Releases Management|
|R 201||Prevention and Control of Fugitive Air Emissions||Each facility should identify potential sources of fugitive emissions and should prevent or control those emissions through the use of appropriate mitigative measures. These sources may include unpaved roads, storage piles, material conveyance systems, waste disposal piles, and leaks from processes and buildings.|
|R 202||Collection and Control of Process Air Emissions||Each facility should ensure that air pollution control equipment is adequately sized, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to contain and control pollutant releases to ambient air from all plant processes.|
|R 203||Total Particulate Matter Emissions Guidelines||Each facility should be designed and operated to achieve the following recommended release concentrations for total particulate matter after the emission control device of less than 50 mg/Nm3.|
|R 204||Sulphur Fixation Guidelines||
|R 205||Mercury Emissions Guidelines9||
|R 206||Dioxins and Furans Emissions Guidelines10||
* ITEQ = International Toxicity Equivalency Quotient.
|R 207||Metals Emissions Limit Targets||Each facility should develop facility emission reduction targets for and timetables to achieve reductions in releases of arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, mercury, and other metals of concern, taking into account facility emission reduction targets for sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, pollution prevention and control options, and performances for various feeds, smelting processes, and emission control systems.|
|R 208||Air Releases Reporting||Each facility should measure or estimate and report releases, consistent with the Guidance Document for Reporting Releases from the Base Metals Smelting Sector11 and in accordance with the notice requiring submission of data for the National Pollutant Release Inventory.12|
|R 209||Ambient Air Quality Objectives||
In addition to the source performance recommendations of R 203 and R 204, each facility should design and operate air emission prevention and control systems, taking into account local conditions and the following ambient air quality objectives, standards, criteria and guidelines:
|R 210||Ambient Air Quality Monitoring||
Each facility should develop and implement an ambient air quality monitoring program in consultation with the regulatory bodies having authority over the facility. This program should include the sampling and analysis of metals, particulate matter (total, PM10, and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, and other pollutants of concern, taking into account:
|Number||Subject||Summary of Recommendations: Water and Wastewater Management|
|R 301||Water Use/Reuse||Water use should be minimized, to the maximum extent practicable, possibly through the recycling or reuse of water and the cascading of cooling water and wastewater between production processes using lower-quality water.|
|R 302||Wastewater Collection||All wastewater streams that may exceed the effluent criteria of R 304 should be directed to a treatment facility prior to discharge to the environment.|
|R 303||Wastewater Containment Sizing||
Wastewater collection and containment systems should be designed to contain the maximum volume of liquid that could reasonably be expected to be in storage for the following conditions:
|R 304||Water Effluent Guidelines||
Wastewater treatment facilities should be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to achieve the following effluent quality prior to release:
On a continuous basis:
Maximum monthly mean concentration:
Total suspended solids
Non-acutely lethal effluent:
|R 305||Water Effluent Reporting||Effluents should be monitored, tested, estimated and reported, consistent with Environment Canada's Guidance Document for the Sampling and Analysis of Metal Mining Effluents15 and Guidance Document for Flow Measurement of Metal Mining Effluents16 and in accordance with the notice requiring submission of data for the National Pollutant Release Inventory.17|
|R 306||Ambient Water Quality Guidelines||
In addition to the source performance recommendations of R 304 and R 305, each facility should design and operate effluent discharge systems, taking into account local conditions and the following ambient water quality objectives:
Guideline * (µg/L)
Ammonia (un-ionized) ***
Trivalent chromium (Cr(III))
Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI))
|R 307||Aquatic Environmental Effects Monitoring||Each facility that discharges to a receiving water, should develop and implement an aquatic environmental effects monitoring program, consistent with Environment Canada's Metal Mining Guidance Document for Aquatic Environmental Effects Monitoring.18|
|Number||Subject||Summary of Recommendations: Waste Management|
|R 401||Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling||
Each facility should develop, implement, and maintain a waste reduction, reuse, and recycling program. The program should be one that:
|R 402||Location and Construction of Waste Disposal Sites||
Expansions to existing waste disposal sites and the design and construction of new sites should be undertaken so as to ensure that:
|R 403||Development of Solid Waste Disposal Sites||
Solid waste disposal sites should be developed in accordance with the following practices:
|R 404||Management of Waste Disposal Sites||
All waste disposal sites should be managed in accordance with documented, site-specific waste management plans approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies having authority over the facility so that:
|R 405||Monitoring of Waste Disposal Sites||
A groundwater monitoring program should be developed for all waste disposal sites in accordance with the following guidelines:
|R 406||Waste Reporting||Wastes disposed of and transferred should be reported, in accordance with the notice requiring submission of data for the National Pollutant Release Inventory.19|
|R 407||Waste Management||Wastes should be managed consistent with the Guidance Document for Management of Wastes from the Base Metals Smelting Sector.20|
- 1 Canadian Standards Association, Environmental Management Systems - Specification with Guidance for Use, CAN/CSA-ISO 14001-96, 1996.
- 2 Hatch Associates Ltd., Environmental Management Plan Guidance Document for the Base Metals Smelting Sector, prepared for Environment Canada, March 14, 2001.
- 3 Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Reference Guide: Determining Whether a Project is Likely to Cause Significant Adverse Environmental Effects.
- 4 Environment Canada, Pollution Prevention Planning Handbook, 2001.
- 5 Environment Canada, Implementation Guidelines for Part 8 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Environmental Emergency Plans, September 2003, ISBN 0-662-33797-2.
- 6 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, National Guidelines for Decommissioning Industrial Sites, Report No. CCME-TS/WM-TRE013E, March 1991, ISBN 0-662-18705-9.
- 7 Hatch Associates Ltd., Guidance Document for Reporting Releases from the Base Metals Smelting Sector,prepared for Environment Canada, October 2001.
- 8 Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, 2002, GRI Mining and Metals Sector Supplement, Pilot Version 1.0, February 2005.
- 9 In accordance with the Canada-wide Standards for Mercury (see Appendix A of the Code).
- 10 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Canada-wide Standards for Dioxins/Furans, March 2003, developed for other sources such as steel manufacturing electric arc furnaces.
- 11 Hatch Associates Ltd., Guidance Document for Reporting Releases from the Base Metals Smelting Sector,prepared for Environment Canada, October 2001.
- 12 Environment Canada, National Pollutant Release Inventory.
- 13 Environment Canada, Biological Test Method: Reference Method for Determining Acute Lethality of Effluents to Rainbow Trout, Report EPS 1/RM/13, Second Edition, December 2000.
- 14 Environment Canada, Biological Test Method: Reference Method for Determining Acute Lethality of Effluents to Daphnia magna, Report EPS 1/RM/14, Second Edition, December 2000.
- 15 Environment Canada, Guidance Document for the Sampling and Analysis of Metal Mining Effluents, EPS 2/MM/5, April 2001.
- 16 Environment Canada, Guidance Document for Flow Measurement of Metal Mining Effluents, EPS 2/MM/4, April 2001.
- 17 Environment Canada, National Pollutant Release Inventory.
- 18 Environment Canada, Metal Mining Guidance Document for Aquatic Environmental Effects Monitoring, 2002.
- 19 Environment Canada, National Pollutant Release Inventory.
- 20 Hatch Consulting, Guidance Document for Management of Wastes from the Base Metals Smelting Sector,prepared for Environment Canada, March 31, 2004.
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