On-Site Magazine

Vale Breaks Ground on Historic $2B Clean AER Project

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June 25, 2012 by On-Site Magazine

Joined by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, government cabinet ministers, community leaders, local residents and employees, Vale officially broke ground on its $2-billion “Clean AER Project”, one of the largest single environmental investments in Ontario’s history.

The Clean AER Project, where AER stands for ‘Atmospheric Emissions Reduction’, will see sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale’s smelter in Sudbury reduced by 70 per cent from current levels, as well as dust and metals emissions reduced a further 35 to 40 per cent. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.

“This is an historic day for Vale and demonstrates the importance that Greater Sudbury plays in our global operations,” said John Pollesel, chief operating officer of Vale Canada Limited and director of Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.  “Starting today, we are building a lasting legacy for our employees, the community and future generations who will live and work in Greater Sudbury, and that is truly a reason to celebrate.”

In addition to the environmental benefits, the Clean AER Project will result in significant economic benefits to the community. Vale estimates the project will require about 8-million person-hours of additional labour, with 1,300 additional workers needed on-site during the peak construction period.

“Vale’s Clean AER groundbreaking represents yet another chapter in the success story that is the re-greening of Sudbury, and speaks to the company’s commitment to the environment,” said Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci. “Just as our government has moved the yardsticks toward more sustainable mining practices, it is heartening to see Vale is proactively working to improve its own practices.”

Construction on the project will involve a complete retrofit of Vale’s smelter converter aisle, the construction of a new secondary baghouse and wet gas cleaning plant, a second acid plant, and new material handling facilities to better prevent dust from entering the community, all while the smelter will continue to operate.

The reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions will put Vale well below government regulated emission limits by 2015, to 45 kilotonnes versus the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year. This reduction is in addition to the 90 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions Vale has incorporated since 1970 and will serve to complement the ongoing success story that is the re-greening of the Sudbury region.

In 2010, Vale announced a planned five-year investment program of $10 billion across Canada to enhance and expand its Canadian operations. Approximately $3.4 billion of this expenditure is being spent on modernizing Vale’s Sudbury Operations, including the Clean AER Project.

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