Iron ore pellet sector: environmental performance agreement overview

This environmental performance agreement is in effect from January 5, 2018 to June 1, 2026.

Iron ore pellet sector: environmental agreement

Objective

The objective of this agreement is to implement the base level industrial emissions requirements (BLIERs) developed for the iron ore pellet sector.

Signatories

This agreement has been negotiated between:

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • Iron Ore Company of Canada
  • ArcelorMittal Mining Canada G.P.

Key requirements

The participating companies agree to:

  1. achieve and maintain the BLIERs for emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
  2. participate in a nitrogen oxides (NOx) technical working group
    • the working group will prepare a report including opportunities for the reduction and/or improved control of NOx emissions

Deadlines

Type of reports Deadline
Annual report June 1 (each calendar year of this agreement, starting in 2018)
NOx working group report 2020 to 2021
ECCC public reporting Annually

Where to submit

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

Performance results

2020

Both companies submitted their 2020 annual report by the reporting deadline. Reports indicate that both companies met their emissions target for PM2.5 in 2020, as well as their sulphur content in fuel targets (refer to tables below).  

To date, 4 annual NOx working group meetings, led by the industry, have occurred. The working group discussed factors influencing the formation of NOx and emission reduction techniques. A report describing NOx formation and emission reduction was submitted to the working group in 2020. At the last meeting, it was noted by industry that NOx reduction efforts could interfere with greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction plans. 

Table 1: maximum sulphur content in liquid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 2: maximum sulphur content in solid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 3: facility-level PM2.5 emission intensity
Facility
BLIERs target
(40 g PM2.5/tonne of pellets)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved

Verification results

ECCC received and verified the 2020 annual reports, which include PM2.5 and sulphur content in fuel data. ECCC reached out to industry to verify the calculations and methodologies used to determine production. ECCC was satisfied with responses from the facility and therefore no further actions were required.

2019

Due to the COVID-19  pandemic, ECCC extended the reporting deadline from June 30th 2020 to August 30th 2020. Both companies submitted their 2019 annual report by the extended reporting deadline. Reports indicate that both companies met their emissions target for PM2.5 in 2019, as well as their sulphur content in fuel targets (refer to tables below).

To date, 3 annual NOx working group meetings, led by the industry, have occurred. The working group discussed factors influencing the formation of NOx, and emission reduction techniques. A report describing NOx formation and emission reduction was submitted to the working group in 2020.

Table 1: maximum sulphur content in liquid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 2: maximum sulphur content in solid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 3: facility-level PM2.5 emission intensity
Facility
BLIERs target
(40 g PM2.5/tonne of pellets)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved

Verification results

ECCC received and verified annual reports, which include PM2.5 and sulphur content in fuel data. ECCC reached out to industry to verify the calculations and the methodology used for the data in the submitted reports. Minor changes were made to the data, which did not affect the achievement of emission targets.

2018

Both companies submitted their 2018 annual report by the reporting deadline of June 1st 2019. Reports indicate that both companies met their emissions target for PM2.5 in 2018, as well as their sulphur content in fuel targets (refer to the tables below).

The NOx working group was created in July 2018 and is composed of industry, experts from the private sector, ECCC and provinces.  To date, three annual working group meetings have occurred. The scope of activity, factors influencing the formation of NOx, and emission reduction techniques were discussed and a report will be produced by a consulting firm and submitted to the working group in 2020.

Table 1: maximum sulphur content in liquid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 2: maximum sulphur content in solid fuel
Facility
BLIERs target
(1.5% sulphur content in fuel by weight)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved
Table 3: facility-level PM2.5 emission intensity
Facility
BLIERs target
(40 g PM2.5/tonne of pellets)
Carol Lake Project (IOC) Target achieved
Port-Cartier (AMMC) Target achieved

Verification results

ECCC received and verified annual reports, which include PM2.5 and sulphur content in fuel data.  This year, ECCC reached out to industry to verify the calculations and the methodology used for the data in the submitted reports. Minor changes were made to the data, which did not affect the company’s achievement of emission targets.

Next steps

  • Date of the next NOx working group is to be determined
  • Conduct reviews of 2021 reports
  • The NOx working group will prepare a recommendation report on NOx emission limits and reduction opportunities by 2023

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. It includes:

  • Canadian ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter, ground-level ozone and SO2
  • BLIERs
  • local air zone management by the provincial/territorial jurisdictions

Summary of instruments to implement BLIERs

The Government of Canada led a federal, provincial and territorial consensus process with stakeholder involvement to complete the development of BLIERs. For the iron ore pellet sector, quantitative BLIERs were developed for PM2.5 and SO2 and qualitative BLIERs were developed for NOx.

Response to comments

A draft agreement was posted for public consultation on the Government of Canada's environmental performance agreements website for 60 days. No comments were received from stakeholders.

Contact us

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

Emailmmp-tmm@ec.gc.ca

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