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Press release

Minister Benoit Charette outlines key environmental requirements the government is proposing to impose on the Horne Foundry

In case of discrepancy, the French version shall prevail

Rouyn-Noranda, August 15, 2022. -
Reiterating that the health of the population is paramount, the Gouvernement du Québec proposes to impose, at the end of the period covered by the renewal of its authorization, an ambient air arsenic concentration limit of 15 ng/m3 on Glencore for the Horne smelter in Rouyn-Noranda, in accordance with the benchmarks set by the Direction de santé publique du Québec last Wednesday. This would be an important first step in bringing the facility into compliance with the Québec standard, which is 3 ng/m3.

At a press conference in Rouyn-Noranda, Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region, announced the following main proposed requirements that the government intends to impose over the next five years in its proposed Ministerial Authorization (formerly “Remediation Certificate”):
  • At the end of the permit renewal period, an annual average arsenic concentration of 15 ng/m3 is met;
  • Annual and daily average concentrations for arsenic, cadmium and lead are also met;
  • The smelter progressively reduces its emissions by meeting interim annual targets for arsenic, lead and cadmium;
  • The smelter reduces the size and frequency of sulphur dioxide (SO2) spikes.
The government will also require the smelter to continue land characterization and decontamination, primarily in the Notre-Dame district, per current standards and obligations. The Minister also stated that the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) will see to the installation of new sampling stations in order to grow the air quality monitoring network.

Public Consultation

During an online consultation to be held from September 6 to October 20, 2022, the government will invite members of the public to express their views in writing on the general directions it should impose on Glencore for the Horne Smelter until 2027. In addition, an in-person session will be held in Rouyn-Noranda towards the end of the consultation period for individuals that were unable to participate in the online consultation. In this way, the government is responding to the public’s need for information about the current impacts of the smelter and wishes to hear their concerns in the context of the work associated with the renewal of the Ministerial Authorization.
 
The 45-day online consultation will be held on the government’s consultation platform at Québec.ca, where people can give their opinion by answering a short series of questions or by submitting a brief. In order to provide a complete picture of the situation, key documents directly related to the file will be posted on the platform, and all briefs submitted will also be available at the same web location at the end of the consultation period.
 
Once the consultation has concluded, comments received through the questionnaire and written submissions will be collated and used by the Ministère to finalize its review, intending to make a decision regarding the renewal of Glencore’s Ministerial Authorization for the Horne Smelter by the end of November 2022.

Quotes:

“We have said it over and over again: we will not compromise on the health of our citizens. The conditions I am presenting today will bring the company, we are convinced, very significantly closer to compliance with Québec standards, and ultimately, to reaching the 3 ng/m3 ceiling for arsenic emissions. Let me be absolutely clear: if Glencore fails to comply with the government’s requirements, the Horne Smelter will be forced to close. As part of the ongoing process, I encourage the population of Rouyn-Noranda and the entire region to participate in the online consultation, which will soon begin. This is a golden opportunity to all interested parties to participate in the process.”

Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region.
 
“I take pride in the proposal we are presenting today. We had to balance the environmental, economic, social and health aspects of this issue, which is very important for the Abitibi‑Témiscamingue region, and I firmly believe that we have found the optimal solution under the circumstances. I would like to thank everyone that contributed to the conversation so far and, as well as all those who have chosen to participate in the consultation. I also want to thank my colleague, Benoit Charette, for his determined work on this dossier.”

Pierre Dufour, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec Regions

Highlights:

  • Under thecurrent regulations,whichhave been ineffect since2017,businessesthat were in operation prior to June 30, 2011, are not subject to the Clean Air Regulation, save a change to a source of contaminants or an increase in production. These companies are issued an authorization by the MELCC, which sets out the environmental requirements they mustmeet over a given period of time. The authorization determines more precisely theoperating conditions for everything related to the entity’s impacts on air quality, but also on water and residual materials management.
  • Renewable every five years, the authorization enables environmental requirements to be progressively tightened on the basis of most recent knowledge, technological and economic availabilities, and special features of environments that are to be protected.
  • Dating back to 1927,theHorne Smelteristheonlycopper smelter inCanada,which makesit a complex and unique operation. As a result, analyzing the impacts of its activities requires extensive knowledge and expertise, as well as collaboration by various specialists.

Related link:

Participate in the online consultation starting September 6, 2022: https://consultation.quebec.ca/processes/fonderie-horne

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SOURCES :

Rosalie Tremblay-Cloutier
Press Officer
Cabinet of the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region
Telephone: 438-777-3777
Michel Vincent
Director of Communications and Press Officer
Cabinet of the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Abitibi‑Témiscamingue and Nord‑du‑Québec Regions
Telephone: 514-231-2251
 

INFORMATION :

Media Relations
Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Telephone: 418-521-3991

 

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