The nickel standard will be respected, assures the Port of Quebec

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The nickel standard will be respected, assures the Port of Quebec

The port authority says that it will accompany its operator Glencore to improve its practices.

Glencore is the only Port of Quebec operator to handle nickel. (File photo)

The Port of Quebec undertakes to take the necessary measures to ensure that the nickel standard is respected on its territory . He says he is already working with Glencore, the only port operator to handle this metal, to help him make his processes more watertight.

A standard must be met. Standards will be met. The Port will do what it takes to ensure that the standards are met, said Quebec Port Authority CEO Mario Girard in an interview with Radio-Canada on Wednesday.

< p class="e-p">In its report which was made public last week, the Working Group on Atmospheric Contaminants (GTCA) writes that the source of the higher nickel levels measured in the Limoilou-Basse-Ville sector is strongly associated with port activities. de Québec.

Mario Girard asserts that the Port of Quebec will support its operator Glencore to help it reduce the risk of nickel emissions into the ambient air.

For several years, Glencore has been the only operator in the port to handle nickel. While highlighting the improvements implemented by the company over the past decade, the GTCA mentions that its processes can still be improved.

The group mandated by the Legault government explains that the transhipment of nickel on board ships is done with a bilge in the open position, which increases the inherent risk of particulate matter emissions.

Experts recommend that Glencore set up loading and unloading operations with chocks in the closed position to reduce, if not eliminate, this risk at source. Glencore has already indicated that it welcomes this suggestion.

Mario Girard made a point of pointing out that in the eyes of the authors of the report, nickel was not the atmospheric contaminant presenting most health risks.

The GTCA believes that mitigation efforts focused on fine particles (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides must be prioritized in order to maximize health gains. Never mind, the nickel standard must be respected, agreed the CEO of the Port.

The GTCA report specifies that there are multiple sources of atmospheric contaminant emissions in the Limoilou-Basse-Ville sector. (File photo)

It was not the first major concern of the report, but the standards are there to be met and the Port will do what they do. it is necessary with our operator so that they are respected. There are already investments underway. So things are progressing well on that side, added Mr. Girard.

Like the members of the working group, he mentioned that there were multiple sources of atmospheric contaminant emissions that could affect ambient air quality in the Limoilou-Basse-Ville sector.


“All of this calls for us to work collaboratively together to succeed in finding solutions as quickly as possible, and that' it is in this spirit that we work at the Port of Quebec.

— Mario Girard, CEO, Port of Quebec

Mr. Girard also maintained that the Port had collaborated in an exemplary manner with the GTCA. The latter, assured the CEO, had access to all the air quality data produced by his organization. it had to the scientific committee, which judged to take those which were relevant or not for the studies. So, the Port, thereupon, impeccable collaboration.

The president of the GTCA, Jean-Pierre Charland, mentioned that he had not been able to obtain all the data collected on the territory of the port of Quebec.

If he was able to consult the data, the chemist did not have access to those collected by his various operators, including Glencore.

GTCA President, Jean-Pierre Charland , says he did not have access to all the air quality data collected on the Port of Quebec site.

Last spring, the Legault government increased the daily limit for nickel particle emissions into the ambient air by five times, increasing it from 14 to 70 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m³).

Department of the Environment data obtained by Radio-Canada show that 11 exceedances of the new standard of 70 ng/m³ were recorded at the Vieux-Limoilou sampling station in 2021 and 2022.

On two occasions, the particle concentrations recorded were four times higher than the current standard.

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