August 2-9, 2004

Review period opens for renewal of PCS Cassidy Lake refinery air quality approval

The New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government last week initiated a 180-day public review of PCS Cassidy Lake Division's application to renew the air quality operating permit for its potash ore refinery in Clover Hill, near Norton. The facility's current five-year air quality operating approval expires February 28, 2005.

PCS Cassidy Lake, a subsidiary of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, purchased the refinery from Denison Potacan Mining in 1998 and uses the facility to process partially refined ore from its Rocanville mine in Saskatchewan. It has an annual production rate of 140,000 tonnes.

The main source of emissions from the refinery is particulate matter (PM) released from the product dryers. The facility's PM emissions are the main reason for its designation as a Class 1B source of emissions under New Brunswick's Clean Air Act. Most of the particulates are captured by wet scrubbers, with the remainder exhausted through the refinery stacks. PM emissions from all sources average 55 kg per hour, well below the permitted limit of 68.8 kg/hr. This is largely due to the fact that the facility operates on a four-days-on, four-days-off schedule.

Other emissions of concern relating to the operation are associated with the combustion of fuel oil, used by the company to fire its fine and coarse product dryers. As a Class 1 facility, the refinery is limited by the air quality regulation to a maximum emission rate for sulfur dioxide (SO2) of 1,000 tonnes per year; its actual emissions are only six tonnes per year. A review by the Department of Environment and Local Government has confirmed that no enforcement action has been taken or is pending against PCS Cassidy Lake for non-compliance with air emission limits.

The public participation regulation under the Act calls for a public participation process to be conducted before operating approvals are issued or renewed for Class 1 sources of emissions. This process contains a number of information requirements and minimum time frames in relation to the public review, including a 120-day public comment period scheduled for Aug. 4, 2004 to Dec. 3, 2004. All comments should be submitted in writing.

"The public is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about this facility and submit their written comments in regard to the air quality operating approval for PCS Cassidy Lake Ltd," said Environment and Local Government Minister Brenda Fowlie

More information, including a facility profile and details on obtaining documentation or submitting comments during the public review period, may be viewed on-line at www.gnb.ca/0009/0355/0005/ or requested from the Department of Environment and Local Government's offices in Saint John, 506/658-2558, or Fredericton, 506/444-4599.

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