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SUDBURY—Since the 1970s, the giant super stack that looms over the Sudbury skyline has spewed foul-smelling pollutants into the air. Now a $2 billion clean-up of the Vale Copper Cliff smelter is underway, a project being billed as one of the larger single environmental investments in Ontario’s history.
Against the backdrop of the official ground-breaking ceremony, Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed local dignitaries Friday and opened the provincial Liberal council weekend meeting — a chance for the party to regroup and recharge after coming perilously close to a summer election few wanted.
“I wish we had a few more Sudbury’s around the province,” McGuinty said, pointing to 8,300 new jobs that have been created in the area since the Liberals formed government in 2003.
The Clean AER Project, which stands for atmospheric emissions reduction, will see sulphur dioxide at the smelter reduced by 70 per cent from current levels, said Dave Stefanuto, the project director.
After the clean-up, which should be finished by end of 2015, about 45 kilotonnes a year will hit the atmosphere from the current level of 150 kilotonnes. The regulatory limit is 66 kilotonnes.
Nickel is a sulphur-bearing ore, explained Stefanuto. “During our process, the sulphur is burnt out of the ore and that sulphur has to go somewhere.”
Now, sulphur dioxide that goes up the stack will be captured in a wet gas cleaning plant and acid plant, converted to sulphuric acid and sold, the company said.
There is a buzz around Sudbury due to its economic growth, said McGuinty.
“You’ve got a new medical school, a new school of architecture that is going up, there is a new hospital,” he said. “I think this is an important symbol for what we can do when we work together in Ontario.”
McGuinty said he brought his caucus and party members here to see it for themselves. Sudbury is also home to MPP Rick Bartolucci and the Liberals fear his seat could be at play in the next election as the NDP strengthens its hold in the northern ridings.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1216214–2b-sudbury-smelter-clean-up-spells-jobs-cleaner-air