Process Gas Project: Striving to Deliver Environmental Sustainability

posted: 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

The PGP and PEP journey was successfully completed in the fall of 2021 thanks largely to local talent and Sudbury’s established innovation ecosystem within the mining industry.

The PGP project started in 2005 with a scoping study to examine innovative technical solutions to further reduce smelter SO2 emissions in response to future environmental regulatory requirements. Phase I, completed by 2015, focused on improvements and upgrades to the roaster process, acid plant and electric furnace, as well as the installation of new hybrid converters.

Phase II commenced in 2017 and included installing new secondary hoods on the converters, as well as a new fan and stack to improve capture of SO2 in the converter aisle. Several other processes and equipment upgrades were completed that enabled Sudbury INO to reduce emissions while increasing capacity.

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

Finally, the PEP portion of the work, which reduced particulate emissions largely through the construction of new storage buildings and baghouses, commenced in 2018. This brought feed handling activities indoors and introduced a three-season vehicle tire wash that reduces the generation of particulate in the plant and surrounding community.

The completion of the projects enhances Sudbury INO’s ability to bridge the increasing requirements for its smelter to receive and treat third-party feeds as its existing mining operations transition to Onaping Depth at Craig Mine.

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.


Despite the complexities of making such significant upgrades to our 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.

Local solutions — local benefits

We are continuing to monitor SO2 and particulate emissions at monitoring stations throughout the community. Since PGP/PEP’s completion, we have met the site-specific standard commitments as set out by the Province of Ontario.

Further, the projects provided a significant economic benefit to the community through the engagement of the Glencore/Hatch Integrated Team and our trade partners.

Hatch and Lopes integrated team assessing the construction of the new baghouse.

This modernization of our smelter operations truly is a reflection of our primary Purpose — to responsibly deliver the commodities that advance everyday life.


Since publication of the above blog post, we're proud to say the Process Gas Project and Particulate Emissions Project received further recognition from Canadian Consulting Engineer, a magazine for professional engineers working as consultants in the construction field. We invite you to read more in their article, 2022 #CCEawards Showcase: Process Gas Project and Particulate Emissions Project.