|Mining Operations in Canada Released 2.3 Million Pounds of Heavy Metals in 1998
The Canadian Environmental Defence Fund (CEDF) in Toronto, said mining smelters in Canada released more than 2.3 million pounds of heavy metals in 1998, including arsenic, mercury, lead and nickel compounds.These are all highly poisonous and harmful to people's health and the environment.
The fund said the worst polluter was Inco Ltd., the western world's largest nickel miner, which released 1.1 million pounds of heavy metal into the environment from its facilities in Ontario and Manitoba. "Overall, Inco released almost two billion pounds of sulfur dioxide which causes acid rain," CEDF said. Their report listed Noranda Inc., Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co., a unit of Anglo American Plc, Falconbridge Ltd. and Cominco Ltd., as major polluters. Mausberg said the information for the report came from information provided by the mining groups to a consultant for Environment Canada.
Ranked by facility, the fund's report said Inco's Copper Cliff operation in Sudbury, Ontario, was a major polluter, followed by Noranda's Horne smelter in Quebec, then Hudson Bay's Flin Flon smelter in Manitoba, Inco's Thompson operation in Manitoba, Falconbridge's Kidd Creek facility in Ontario and Cominco's Trail zinc operation in British Columbia.
"We certainly have a strategy in place to spend considerable money to make considerably more progress in the Sudbury area and out in Thomson, to address both the sulfur dioxide and the metal emissions," Inco spokesman Jerry Rogers said. Noranda said it was trying to reduce toxins from Horne by more than 50 percent. The smelter processed 720,000 tonnes of copper concentrates in 1999. "We are currently working on a program, and have already spent C$60 million, to reduce those emissions by another 50 percent within the next two, two and a half years," Noranda spokesman Denis Couture told Reuters.