May 8, 2006

Federal P2 planning requirements in effect for base metal smelters, refineries

Base metal smelters and refineries are now required to prepare and implement comprehensive pollution prevention (P2) plans and to publicly report on their conformance with the Environmental Code of Practice for Base Metals Smelters and Refineries, issued under subsection 54(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Notice of this requirement was published by Environment Canada in the April 29, 2006 Canada Gazette following extensive consultations with provinces, industry and other stakeholders.

The Code of Practice is now available and may be downloaded from the Environment Canada Web site, www.ec.gc.ca/CEPARegistry/default.cfm or requested from the department's inquiries centre, 1-800-668-6767.

The notice applies to nine facilities operated by Inco, Falconbridge, Noranda, Teck Cominco and Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting. Included in the P2 programs to be developed and implemented are community air quality protection programs and smelter emissions reduction programs.

The latter will focus on meeting limits specified in the notice for the nine facilities. There are two sets of annual limit targets for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter, the first effective January 1, 2008 and the second effective January 1, 2015. A single target date of January 1, 2008 is set for emissions of mercury and dioxins and furans.

The P2 plans are due to be prepared and implementation begun by October 29, 2006, with implementation fully in place no later than the end of 2015. Interim progress reports will be due beginning June 1, 2007 and every June 1 thereafter until the P2 plan is fully implemented. Once this is done, a declaration to this effect must be filed.

As smelters implement the plans and address emission reduction targets, it is expected that the sector will reduce annual SO2 emissions by over 600,000 tonnes (about 70%) and will reduce annual particulate matter emissions containing metals by over 3,000 tonnes (about 50%) by 2015 from 1998 levels

The P2 planning requirements will support the development of conventional regulations by 2015 for all base metal smelters and refineries. Work with the smelter provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick allows all facilities in the sector the time necessary to make appropriate technological changes and improvements in environmental practices and performance.

Base metal smelters, which include producers of copper, lead, nickel and zinc, release large amounts of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter containing various metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel. These are among the compounds on the CEPA List of Toxic Substances. The new requirements provide industry clear direction on current and future environmental standards, and ensures that smelters will prepare plans to address these objectives.

The federal government will monitor and make public progress on these P2 plans to ensure that steps are being taken by industry to reduce emissions significantly and improve environmental performance to achieve world class standards.

More information is available from Environment Canada regional offices or from the National Office of Pollution Prevention (NOPP), pollution prevention directorate, metals section, 819/994-0457, FAX 819/953-5053.

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