Still 24 times more arsenic in the air than the norm in Rouyn-Noranda in 2022 | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

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Always 24 times more arsenic in the air than the norm in Rouyn-Noranda in 2022 | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

The entrance to the Horne Foundry, in the Notre-Dame district of Rouyn-Noranda .

A few weeks before the unveiling of the new ministerial authorization for the Horne Foundry in Rouyn-Noranda, the company reveals that in 2022, the average annual concentration of arsenic amounted to 73.1 nanograms per cubic meter of air. (ng/m3) at the factory legal station. This is a concentration approximately 24 times higher than the Quebec standard of 3 ng/m3.

The company's sampling station had recorded a concentration 87 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter of air in 2021 and 69 ng/m3 in 2020.

This is really what we expected with our reduction projects that we have put in place. For us, this is very promising. It means that our projects are working as planned. It is true that it is a little higher than for the year 2020, but there is always the contribution of the winds. If we take that into account, it's a downward trend, says Marie-Élise Viger, director of the environmental component for copper operations in North America and the Philippines for Glencore.

Yet, in a July 2020 air emissions reduction plan update, the Horne Smelter presented a worst-case scenario that the arsenic concentration would reach 50 ng/m3 in 2022. The best-case scenario predicted to reduce it to 30 ng/m3.

In our action plan update last August, we reviewed everything. Of course, everyone has been affected by the pandemic, so it has delayed certain projects. But now, all the teams are mobilized to move as quickly as possible for all the emission reduction projects, adds Ms. Viger.

The Horne Smelter is committed to achieving an annual concentration of 65 ng/m3 in 2023.

At the moment, we have several projects underway, such as two dust collectors that will be installed to reduce emissions as quickly as possible. They will guarantee us that we will be below 65 nanograms in 2023.

The metal emission monitoring station near the Horne Smelter.

The company also specifies that the legal station, which officially determines the concentration of contaminants from its activities, will be moved at the northern limit of the future transition zone, between the foundry and the Notre-Dame district. A first move, about 20 meters to the south, was carried out at the end of 2022 in anticipation of the work to come.

The Ministry of the Environment's sampling station, located a few meters from the legal station at the Horne Smelter, measured an average concentration of 67.5 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter of air, from January 1 as of November 19, 2022. The rest of the annual data still needs to be validated by the ministry.

  • September 14: 565 ng/m3
  • May 17: 534 ng/m3< /li>
  • March 27: 381 ng/m3
  • April 17: 360 ng/m3
  • June 22: 332 ng/m3

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The cadmium concentration reached an average of 13.5 ng/m3 in 2022, a threshold about four times higher than the Quebec standard of 3.6 ng/m3. This is the highest concentration measured by the ministry since 2018.

A peak of 117 ng/m3 was also observed on May 17, 2022, the highest concentration daily in three years.

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The Quebec standard for lead, 100 ng/m3, has also been largely exceeded. The monitoring station of the Ministry of the Environment detected a threshold of 467.4 ng/m3 in 2022.

A peak of 6320 ng/m3 was recorded on September 14, 2022 This is the highest concentration of lead in the air since April 7, 2017, when a concentration of 39,500 ng/m3 was observed.

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