Quebec appoints a State administrator for the Horne Foundry file | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

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Quebec appoints a state administrator for the Horne Foundry | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda file

The facilities of the Horne Foundry seen from the north.

The Government of Quebec announces the appointment of an administrator of State which will have the role of coordinating government action in the file of the Horne smelter and that of its atmospheric emissions in Rouyn-Noranda.

Its mandate will consist in particular in ensuring the links and follow-up between the various ministries concerned, the City of Rouyn-Noranda, the citizens' committees, the Public Health Department and the Horne Foundry.

It demonstrates the importance that the government attaches to the file of the Horne Smelter and its emissions, and it was something requested by the Municipality. From next Monday, she will be dedicated 100% of her time to government coordination, but also to the various partners and stakeholders who may be interested in the file, says Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change Benoit Charette, who specifies that this is an unusual step which demonstrates that the government takes it very seriously.

The Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoit Charette

The person who will hold this position is Hélène Proteau, who until now worked as Director General of Western and Northern Analysis and Expertise in the Environmental Assessment and Authorizations Sector of the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Change (MELCC).

Since Glencore needs to renew its ministerial authorization for the Horne Smelter, Hélène Proteau will be responsible for liaising with all parties involved in this process.

The ministerial authorization allows the Horne Smelter to discharge a maximum average concentration of 100 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter, but this agreement expires at the end of the year.

The Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change has refused to comment on the quantity of arsenic in the air that he believes would be acceptable in Rouyn-Noranda.

If public health gives us a percentage or a number of nanograms that would make the risk acceptable, I will stick to it, so public health will be the one who will be able, over the next few days, I hope, to clarify the number of nanograms per cubic meter that is acceptable from a public health perspective, he said.

Benoit Charette is committed to ensuring that this agreement is concluded in 2022 and quickly made public.

It's a matter of a few weeks if not a few months before a new certificate is signed if the terms are met, but as soon as possible, however, I would like the terms of this certificate be made public […] I am rather optimistic for the next few weeks that we will be able to present a much more precise portrait of the situation with much clearer requirements than the last certificate negotiated by the previous government, he explains. -il.

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