SUDBURY, ON, Feb. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Vale has approved a $2-billion investment in the "Clean AER Project", one of the largest environmental investments in Ontario's history.
The Clean AER Project (AER stands for atmospheric emissions reduction) will see sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale's smelter in Sudbury reduced by 70% from current levels. This reduction is in addition to the 90% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions realized since 1970 and complements the ongoing success story that is the re-greening of the Sudbury region.
"This project is an important undertaking and will utilize the latest technological innovations available to us to retrofit our smelter complex," said John Pollesel, Chief Operating Officer, Vale Canada Limited and Director of Base Metals for Vale's North Atlantic operations. "We are creating a new legacy through this project - cleaner air for Sudbury, Ontario and Canada. It's a proud day and great news for all of us who work, live, and raise families in this wonderful community."
Vale has already invested heavily in the project, spending some $100-million on research and development over the past four years in preparation for final project approval. Project Director Dave Stefanuto says the Clean AER Project will be huge in both scope and logistical execution.
"During the overhaul, the smelter will continue to operate regularly," said Stefanuto. "We have already put a lot of time, energy, and resources into planning to ensure safety and efficiency,and now we're ready to begin construction."
The Clean AER Project will require an incredible amount of resources. Vale estimates the retrofit will require about 8-million person-hours of additional labour, with 1,300 workers on-site during peak construction.
The 70% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale's Sudbury operations will put Vale well below government regulated emissions limits by 2015 - 45 kilotonnes per year versus the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year. The project will also reduce emissions of dust and metals by 35 to 40% over current levels.
The $2-billion investment is a clear indication that Sudbury and Canada are important contributors to Vale's future, said Pollesel.
"Once all the research was complete, this was an easy decision," he said. "It is the right thing to do as a company and the right thing to do for our employees and the local community to ensure the long-term sustainability of our operations. Sudbury has already earned a reputation for innovation in mining and environmental reclamation. The Clean AER Project promises to add another historic milestone to that success."
Construction will begin in April with site preparation activities. Project completion is estimated near the end of 2015.
In 2010, Vale announced a 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.
For further information:
Vale, Ontario Operations
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Vale's Base Metals Business