Decreased pollution and increased monitoring: Quebec imposes its standards on the Horne Foundry | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

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Lower pollution and increased monitoring: Quebec imposes its standards on the Horne Foundry | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

< p class="e-p">In addition to the purchase of 80 houses and the creation of a new district, the new ministerial authorization granted to Glencore for the Horne Foundry in Rouyn-Noranda casts a wide net. Decrease in emissions of all metals, addition of daily standards, monitoring of inputs, addition of monitoring stations and better management of wastewater.

The new ministerial authorization for the Horne Foundry will be unveiled today in Rouyn-Noranda.

The 5-year ministerial authorization provides for the achievement of 15 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter of air (ng/m3) annually by the 16 March 2028. The Horne Foundry will have to reach 65 ng/m3 during the year 2023 then 45 nanograms between 2024 and 2026.

The company will have to meet the provincial standard for all other metals it releases into the air by the end of the authorization.

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, presented Thursday afternoon the new certificate for the Horne Foundry.

The Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks says it has ensured that the plan presented to Glencore is realistic and achievable, and that almost all of the public health recommendations has been implemented.

Glencore will also have to submit a plan for achieving the provincial standard of 3 nanograms by the end of 2027.

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The certificate mentions that the Horne Foundry must respect Quebec standards for silver, barium, beryllium, antimony, thallium, vanadium and nickel from 2023. These standards were already applied in 2022.

The Horne Smelter will also have to meet daily standards starting in 2027 for arsenic, lead, nickel, copper, zinc and cadmium.

The department believes that the company would not have been able to respect these constraints with the realization of the PHENIX project.

The Horne Foundry will be the only company in Quebec that will have to apply daily standards, and these standards have been proposed by the National Institute of Public Health. The company will also have to meet daily standards for sulfur dioxide and particulate matter in March 2027.

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The agreement also provides for the addition of 3 sampling stations in the municipality in order to monitor metal emissions at 360 degrees around the company. The new stations will be located in Noranda-Nord, in the Sacré-Coeur district and at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

The ministry says that these new stations will allow better monitoring, but will not be taken into account in the ministerial authorization. The only station where the Horne Foundry will have to comply with the imposed standards is that of the legal station located in the Notre-Dame district.

The Parc Tremblay air quality monitoring station is located in the Montée du Sourire sector, about three kilometers as the crow flies from the Horne Foundry.

< p class="e-p">The frequency of heavy metal sampling will occur every 2 days, rather than every 3 days as was the case in the last agreement. The data should also be made public as soon as possible. The Ministry estimates that the delay could be around 1 month.

Hexavalent chromium will also be measured at the legal station when technology permits. The station located in Parc Tremblay in the Montée du Sourire district will also measure metals from now on.

The Department of the Environment believes that there is no doubt that what enters the Horne Smelter has a direct effect on emissions.

The department will now have access to everything that enters the business, including the storage location. The government agency will not prevent the Horne Foundry from receiving certain complex concentrates, but the Horne Foundry must respect the ministerial authorization if it wishes to continue this type of activity. The Foundry must manage its inputs accordingly, according to the ministry.

Quebec also wants to tighten the screw on the management of waste water from the Horne Foundry. The company has been adding notices of non-compliance for more than 10 years due to its NO-12 effluent discharges, in particular.

The ministry wants to tighten the standards for the copper, petroleum hydrocarbons and add a standard for cadmium concerning the company's final effluents. It is also hoped that the Horne Smelter will tackle once and for all the problems of toxicity to the NO-12 effluent that flows into Lake Rouyn.

The ministry specifies that penalties are provided for if breaches of the agreement are observed. He mentions that there could be notices of non-compliance and the imposition of administrative monetary penalties, as well as criminal investigations or civil remedies. The ministry has not advanced on specific amounts.

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