Base metal smelters sector: environmental performance agreements overview

These environmental performance agreements are in effect from January 5, 2018, to December 31, 2025.

Objective

The objective of the agreements is to implement the base level industrial emissions requirements (BLIERs) developed for the base metals smelting and refining sector.

Signatories

The agreements have been negotiated between Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and 5 base metal smelting and refining companies, each with a specific agreement:

Note: Hudbay Minerals Inc. terminated their agreement in 2021. The facility closed in 2022.

Key requirements

The participating companies agree to:

  1. achieve and maintain the BLIERs for emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM)
  2. continual improvement, where reasonably feasible, with respect to

Deadlines

Annual report: June 30 (covering data collected each calendar year between 2017 and 2025)

Verification: Once (within 2 years of the date of the agreement)

ECCC public reporting: Annually (until end of agreement)

Where to submit

All annual reports are to be submitted electronically to epe-epa@ec.gc.ca.

Performance results

2022

All companies submitted their 2022 annual reports; however, 3 facilities submitted their reports after the reporting deadline. All reports were verified by ECCC and indicated that all 8 of the facilities met their BLIER targets for SO2 and PM. 7Footnote 1  facilities also provided a report on progress towards implementing applicable recommendations in the environmental code of practice for base metals smelters and refineries. Three facilities fully implemented an average of 89% of their applicable recommendations; while the other 4 facilities have implemented 100% of their applicable recommendations.

In addition to the ‘key requirements’ listed in the section above, each signatory has agreed to, and successfully completed, the following for 2022:

  • Participate in a working group with representatives from ECCC, provincial governments, other companies in the base metal sector, and the Mining Association of Canada, with a particular focus on releases of key metals, fine particulate matter and fugitive particulate matter
    • Two meetings took place in 2022. These meetings focused on ECCC providing updates on the progress towards meeting the working group objectives. Provincial representatives provided details on facility obligations with respect to quantification and reporting to their respective provinces
  • Participate in bilateral discussions with ECCC to discuss reports and results and to identify possible methods to further reduce emissions
    • Meetings between ECCC and select facilities took place to discuss the contents of their annual report submissions

Tables 1 to 4 present the SO2 and PM BLIERs targets and results for each facility.

Table 1: Vale Canada Limited 2022 summary results

FacilityFootnote 2

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Copper Cliff

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Port Colborne

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2022 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Horne Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

CCR Refinery

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 3: Teck Metals Limited 2022 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Teck

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 4: Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited on behalf of Noranda Income Limited Partnerships 2022 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

CEZinc

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Verification

ECCC received and verified the 2022 annual reports, which included data showing that each facility is meeting their BLIERs target(s) and reporting on their implementation of the recommendations in the Code of Practice. ECCC conducted meetings with some facilities to review their submissions. Facilities re-submitted revised information resulting from these meetings.

2021

All companies submitted their 2021 annual reports, however 2 facilities submitted their reports after the reporting deadline. All reports were verified by ECCC and indicated that all 8 of the facilities met their BLIER targets for SO2 and PM. There were no working group meetings held in 2021, however, there were meetings between ECCC and select facilities to discuss the contents of their annual report submissions.

In addition, each facility provided a report on progress towards implementing applicable recommendations in the Base Metals Smelting code of practice. On average, all 8 facilities fully implemented 95% of applicable recommendations including 3 facilities that implemented 100% of their applicable recommendations.

Tables 1 to 4 present the SO2 and PM BLIERs targets and results for each facility.

Table 1: Vale Canada Limited 2021 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Copper Cliff

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Port Colborne

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Long Harbour

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

n/aFootnote 2

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2021 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Horne Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

CCR Refinery

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 3: Teck Metals Limited 2021 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Teck

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 4: Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited on behalf of Noranda Income Limited Partnerships 2021 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

CEZinc

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Verification

ECCC received and verified the 2021 annual reports, which included data showing that each facility is meeting their BLIERs target(s) and reporting on their implementation of the recommendations in the Code of Practice. ECCC conducted meetings with some facilities to review their submissions. Facilities re-submitted revised information resulting from these meetings.

ECCC has followed up with the implementation and recommendations with the 1 facility for which corrective actions were recommended following the third-party verification. It was concluded that all recommendations have been implemented.

2020

Annual reports for the 2020 calendar year were received from all of the 9 participating facilities, however 3 of the facilities submitted their reports after the reporting deadline. All of the 9 facilities met their BLIERs targets.

In addition to the ‘key requirements’ listed in the section above, each signatory has agreed to, and successfully completed, the following for 2020:

  • Participate in a working group with representatives from ECCC, provincial governments, other companies in the base metal sector, and the Mining Association of Canada, with a particular focus on releases of key metals, fine particulate matter and fugitive particulate matter
    • Two meetings took place in 2020. These meetings focused on ECCC providing information to the group on various ECCC programs such as the Air Quality Management System (AQMS), Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (APEI) and the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)
  • Participate in bilateral discussions with ECCC to discuss reports and results and to identify possible methods to further reduce emissions
    • Meetings between ECCC and select facilities took place to discuss the contents of their annual report submissions
  • Report on progress towards implementing applicable recommendations in the code of practice
    • Each facility provided this as part of their annual report submissions

Tables 1 to 5 present the SO2 and PM BLIERs targets and results for each facility.

Table 1: Vale Canada Limited 2020 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

ThompsonFootnote 3: First implementation date

Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec 31, 2018

110,000 t/yearFootnote 4

Yes

n/a

n/a

ThompsonFootnote 3: Second implementation date

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

n/aFootnote 3

4

n/aFootnote 3

Copper Cliff

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Port Colborne

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Long Harbour

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2020 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Horne Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

CCR Refinery

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Brunswick SmelterFootnote 5

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

n/aFootnote 5

2

n/aFootnote 5

Table 3: Teck Metals Limited 2020 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Teck

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 4: Hudbay Minerals Inc. 2020 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Hudbay

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 5: Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited on behalf of Noranda Income Limited Partnerships 2020 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: Sulphur capture rate

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

CEZinc

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Verification

ECCC completed desktop reviews for all annual reports received and bilateral discussions continue to take place. Additionally, a 1-time third party verification is a requirement of the performance agreements. ECCC has received all expected verification reports and is in discussions with the 1 facility for which corrective actions were recommended. Those corrective actions include reviewing and updating select sampling methods and documentation of procedures. Staff refresher training for select equipment operators was also recommended. The facility has since provided an action list with confirmation that all recommendations have been implemented. ECCC will be reviewing the implementation of the recommendations with the facility.

2019

Annual reports for the 2019 calendar year were received from 8 of the 11 participating facilities before the reporting deadline. Three facilities did not submit their reports on time. All of the 11 facilities met their BLIERs targets.

In addition to the ‘key requirements’ listed in the section above, each signatory has agreed to, and successfully completed, the following for 2019:

  • participate in a working group with representatives from ECCC, provincial governments, other companies in the base metal sector, and the Mining Association of Canada, with a particular focus on releases of key metals, fine particulate matter and fugitive particulate matter
  • participate in bilateral discussions with ECCC to discuss reports and results and to identify possible methods to further reduce emissions
  • report on progress towards implementing applicable recommendations in the code of practice

Tables 1 to 5 present the SO2 and PM BLIERs targets and results for each facility.

Table 1: Vale Canada Limited 2019 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

ThompsonFootnote 3

Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec 31, 2018

110,000 t/yearFootnote 4

Yes

n/a

n/a

ThompsonFootnote 3

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

n/aFootnote 3

4

n/aFootnote 3

Copper Cliff

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Port Colborne

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Long Harbour

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2019 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations

Jan. 1, 2019

90%

Yes

4

Yes

Horne Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

CCR Refinery

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Brunswick Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 3: Teck Metals Limited 2019 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Teck

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 4: Hudbay Minerals Inc. 2019 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Hudbay

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 5: Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited on behalf of Noranda Income Limited Partnerships 2019 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

CEZinc

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Verification

ECCC completed desktop reviews for all annual reports received and bilateral discussions continue to take place. Additionally, a 1-time third party verification is a requirement of the performance agreements. ECCC has received all expected verification reports.

2018

Annual reports for the 2018 calendar year were received from all 11 participating facilities before the reporting deadline. Each of the 8 facilities required to meet BLIERs target(s) before December 31, 2018, met the target(s) and those whose target(s) are after that date are on track to meet them.

In addition to the ‘key requirements’ listed in the section above, each signatory has agreed to, and successfully completed, the following for 2018:

  • participate in a working group with representatives from ECCC, provincial governments, other companies in the base metal sector, and the Mining Association of Canada, with a particular focus on releases of key metals, fine particulate matter and fugitive particulate matter
  • participate in bilateral discussions with ECCC to discuss reports and results and to identify possible methods to further reduce emissions
  • report on progress towards implementing applicable recommendations in the code of practice

Tables 1 to 5 present the SO2 and PM BLIERs targets and results for each facility.

Table 1: Vale Canada Limited 2018 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

ThompsonFootnote 3

Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec 31, 2018

110,000 t/yearFootnote 4

Yes

n/a

n/a

ThompsonFootnote 3

Jan 1, 2019

90%

n/aFootnote 3

4

n/aFootnote 3

Copper Cliff

Jan 1, 2019

90%

To be evaluated in 2020

4

To be evaluated in 2020

Port Colborne

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Long Harbour

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2018 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations

Jan 1, 2019

90%

To be evaluated in 2020

4

To be evaluated in 2020

Horne Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

CCR Refinery

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Brunswick Smelter

Jan. 5, 2018

90%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 3: Teck Metals Limited 2018 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Teck

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Table 4: Hudbay Minerals Inc. 2018 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

Hudbay

Jan. 5, 2018

n/a

n/a

2

Yes

Table 5: Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited on behalf of Noranda Income Limited Partnerships 2018 summary results

Facility

Date to meet the BLIERs

Target: sulphur capture rate or SO2 emission limit

Met SO2 BLIERs target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Met PM BLIERs target

CEZinc

Jan. 5, 2018

95%

Yes

2

Yes

Verification

ECCC completed desktop reviews for all reports received and bilateral discussions continue to take place. Additionally, a 1-time third party verification is a requirement of the performance agreements. To date, 7 facilities have submitted their third party verification reports.

Next steps

  • Working group activities e.g. regular meetings and bilateral discussions will continue
  • Advancing work of the agreement objectives, including:
    • Continued monitoring of SO2 and PM trends at facilities
    • Development of guidance material with the goal of improving consistency and robustness of the PM and metals data reported to the National Pollutant Release Inventory
  • Annual reports that are submitted by participating facilities will be reviewed by ECCC

Background information

Federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers are taking action to better protect human health and the environment by endorsing and implementing the Air quality management system (AQMS). The AQMS includes Canadian ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone, BLIERs and local air zone management by the provincial/territorial jurisdictions.

Summary of instruments used to implement basic requirements for industrial emissions.

ECCC led a federal, provincial and territorial consensus process with stakeholder involvement to complete the development of BLIERs. For the base metals smelting sector, BLIERs were developed for SO2 and PM.

Response to comments

The draft agreements were posted for public consultation on the Government of Canada's environmental performance agreements website for 60 days. Comments were received from industrial stakeholders. These comments were taken into consideration when finalizing the agreements.

In response to these comments, text was added to clarify when annual reports are due and which party is responsible for chairing a working group to work towards reducing emissions of metals and fugitive particulate matter. As well, a footnote was removed from the Annex I of each agreement to avoid confusion regarding the process for amending the agreements.

Related information

Overview of the base metal smelters and refineries code of practice

Summary of ECCC instruments used to implement BLIERs

Pollution prevention planning notice for base metals smelters and refineries and zinc plants

Contact us

Mining and Processing Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St-Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

Email: mmp-tmm@ec.gc.ca

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