The government found the offer insufficient and sent Glencore back to the drawing board.
The Horne Foundry belongs to the Swiss multinational Glencore.
The Horne Foundry proposed in May, to the Legault government, a new ceiling for arsenic emissions of 60 nanograms per cubic meter of air, or 20 times the Quebec standard. Quebec does not rule out closing the plant if the company “is not able to reduce its emissions”.
Since 2021, the& #x27;factory must emit a maximum of 100 ng/m³, or 33 times the Quebec standard (3 ng/m³). Negotiations are underway to impose a much more severe ceiling.
Due to popular pressure, the Department for the Environment wants to impose a much more restrictive new cap on the company.
Glencore is due to unveil a plan next month ;action to further reduce its polluting emissions, which cause an increased risk of lung cancer in Rouyn-Noranda. The company has hinted that a tough target could force it to invest $500 million in its facilities and has sought government financial assistance.
In a reaction sent by email, the Legault government indicates that, in fact, the company presented us with an authorization request last May with a standard of 60 ng/m³. However, this standard is still too high for us and we asked the company to go back to the drawing board and offer us a solution with a lower threshold than the one proposed.
Still according to Quebec, it is not excluded to close the plant if the company is not able to reduce its emissions and get closer to the Quebec standard.
According to the solidarity MP for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue Émilise Lessard-Therrien, the government must constrain the company and not put its hand in its pocket. We are talking about a foreign multi-billion dollar multinational.
According to our information, the former government of Jean Charest tried to impose this standard on the Horne Foundry, before stepping back, about fifteen years ago.
“There are people who have lain down to corporate talk. […] Successive governments have preferred to take the edge of business rather than the edge of public health. »
— Émilise Lessard-Therrien, Solidarity MP for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue
As today, the company had argued in the early 2000s that the reductions imposed had to be technically possible and economically viable.
In 2006, the Horne Foundry had told the government to be able to reach 39 ng/m³. We have demonstrated that we can force the company to invest its own funds to reach the Quebec standard, reacts the Parti Québécois spokesperson for the Environment, Sylvain Gaudreault.
“Clearly there is some wiggle room. »
— Sylvain Gaudreault, PQ spokesperson for the environment
All the opposition parties demand that the Legault government aim for an objective of 3 ng/m³, with the shortest possible time frame to achieve this.
Last year, the Horne Smelter emitted an average of 87 ng/m³ in the air of Rouyn-Noranda.