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Process Gas Project: Delivering Environmental Sustainability

Author: Glencore Canada | Date: 03/03/2022

The latest achievement in our continuing effort to reduce our sulphur dioxide and particulate footprint— is the $288 million Process Gas & Particulate Emissions Projects at Sudbury INO.

PGP & PEP - by the numbers

1.24M+

hours worked on site

280

record consecutive Zero Harm days

86%

reduction in hours above 120 parts per billion SO2 since 2014

62%

reduction in measured cadmium concentrations

50%

reduction in measured nickel concentrations

66%

reduction in measured cobalt concentrations

C$288M

total project spend

802

trade partners full-time equivalent

58

Glencore annual full-time equivalent

Proudly, the PGP and PEP journey was successfully completed in the fall of 2021, led by our own employees, in partnership with our trade partners, which serves as a testament to the depth of experience, talent and commitment to innovation found locally. The positive, collaborative working relationships struck with our trade partners were a significant contributor in bringing these projects to fruition.

Follow Sudbury INO's journey in establishing a Glencore/Hatch fully integrated team that nurtured a culture that celebrated success and reinforced positive safety behaviours, ultimately leading  to the completion of these projects, safely and below budget – no small feat considering the length of time of the projects and their considerable complexity in terms of being built in an active facility.

The PGP and PEP journey

2005

Ontario Regulations 194 and 419 promulgated requiring the smelter reduce total SO2 emissions and modelled SO2, Cd and Ni emissions

2008

(1) Technology Scoping Study – Smelter Expansion study using the Isasmelt Process (2) Scoping Study Report – High Roast for 85 kt/y Ni (3) Scoping Study Report – Furnace Offgas Scrubbing Concept

2010

Scoping study final report

2011

Investment Committee Presentation (for project implementation). PFS Project Review and Plan

2013

Approval for PGP Phase 1 project

2015

(1) Improvements to the feed prep, roaster offgas and acid plant processes. (2) Major enhancements to the electric furnace. (3) New hybrid converters along with design modifications to the converter aisle flow to improve efficiency.

2017

Approval for PGP Phase 2 project funding

2018

Approval PEP Phase 1 funding

2019

Approval of remainder of PEP Phase 2 funding

2021

PGP scope and PEP construction scope completed with full closure of project anticipated for Q1 2022.

The first seeds of the PGP and PEP projects were sown in 2005 when the Ontario Government announced its future environmental regulatory requirements calling for significant reductions in sulphur dioxide (SO2), nickel and cadmium emissions. 

To ensure compliance while maintaining smelter capacity, the team examined a number of options. By 2013, the PGP team, working with a number of our highly qualified trade partners recommended a series of innovative changes to the existing smelting process and equipment that would yield significant reductions in SO2 and particulate emissions to the environment and local community.

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Due to its scope, and to be able to make the changes required while the smelter continued to operate, the project was split into three phases.

  • Improvements to the Sulphur dioxide and acid plant gas capture from our roasters through improved feed blending
  • Major enhancements to the electric furnace
  • New hybrid converters along with design modifications to the converter aisle flow to improve efficiency
  • Reduced particulate emissions from the converter aisle through secondary hoods and a new stack
  • Enhancements at our acid plant
  • A new mixing station
  • Upgrades to our thaw shed for railcars
  • Improvements to dust capture at the furnace feed gallery

Moving more custom feed activities indoors, by investing in:

  • New Blending and Bulk Receiving buildings ventilated to a baghouse
  • New Package Receiving building and baghouse
  • New railcar and truck concentrate building and baghouse
  • New 3 season truck tire wash
Employees standing in front of the new three-season truck tire wash facility.

Safety and sustainability

Despite the complexities of making such significant upgrades to their smelter operations while it continued to operate, the projects were completed with more than 1,200,000 hours worked with zero Lost Time Injuries.

The PGP/PEP team’s safety program was coordinated with the smelter’s own internal goal: “Zero Harm”. It is based on the principle that every worker is entitled to a safe working environment and is responsible for working safely, all integral to a sustainable operation.

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Local solutions — local benefits

Sudbury INO continues to monitor SO2 and particulate emissions at monitoring stations throughout the community. Since PGP/PEP’s completion, they have met the site specific standard commitments as set out by the Province while continually increasing their production levels and contributing to the local economy.

This is a demonstration of their ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of the environment, the community and their workforce.

We acknowledge the Glencore/Hatch Integrated Team, and all trade partners involved in realizing these projects.

Our Sudbury INO team was proud to work with trade partners to help modernize our smelting complex and to work with external feed suppliers to secure our future.

Further, the projects provided a significant economic benefit to the community through the engagement of the Integrated Team and their trade partners. This modernization of Sudbury INO's smelter operations truly is a reflection of our primary Purpose — to responsibly deliver the commodities that advance  everyday life.