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:

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

Type of reports Deadline
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 ec.epa-epe.ec@canada.ca.

Performance results

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

Meeting SO2 BLIER target

Target: PM intensity (kg/t base metal)

Meeting PM BLIER target

Thompson*

Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec 31, 2018

110,000 t/year**

Yes

n/a

n/a

Thompson**

Jan 1, 2019

90%

n/a*

4

n/a*

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

* Smelter closed in July of 2018.

** Averaged over the 3 year period to meet the mass emission requirement.

Table 2: Glencore Canada Corporation 2018 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%

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

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. 2018 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

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

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 reports received and bilateral discussions continue to take place. Additionally, a one-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 such as regular meetings and bilateral discussions will continue
  • Annual and third party verification reports will be submitted by participating facilities and subsequently 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 ECCC instruments used to implement BLIERs

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

Contact us

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

Email: ec.mmp-tmm.ec@canada.ca

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