The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Vale has finally approved the Clean AER Project, a $2 billion investment that will reduce sulp hu r dioxide emissions at Vale’s Sudbury smelter by 70%.
The Clean AER (atmospheric emissions reduction) Project, one of the largest environmental investments in Ontario’s history, will include retrofitting the smelter complex. Along with the environmental benefits, Clean AER will mean more local jobs. At the peak of construction, which should start around April, Vale expects to have 1,300 workers on-site.
The initiative comes after the bitter Vale strike, which created tension in the community between the company and its employees. “This really represents our commitment to the city with respect to sustainable development,” said Vale project director Dave Stefanuto. “We recognize there are great assets in Sudbury, not only in terms of the facility, but in terms of the people. We recognize the importance of hanging on to those assets.”
At the end of the project, Vale aims to bring the smelter’s sulphur dioxide emissions down to 45 kilotonnes per year, well below the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year.
“We’re trying to be very transparent about (the project),” Stefanuto said.
“The whole point is to create a sustainable facility for the community … For people like myself, born and raised in Sudbury, I think this is important because it’s a project that directly impacts the community.”
Dick Destefano agrees. As the executive director of SAMSAA, the Northern Ontario mining supply and service association, Destefano is excited about Clean AER.
“I’m speculating 60 to 70% (of the $2 billion) will be spent locally,” he said, adding the money may be spent throughout Northern Ontario. “We’re extremely excited. We knew (the project) was coming, we just didn’t know when.”
Destefano sees the initiative as an important investment in the local industry.
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