Canadian Mining Journal


AIR POLLUTION – Copper Cliff Smelter No Longer Tops List

OTTAWA - Figures released today show that INCO's Copper Cliff smelter complex in Sudbury is no longer Canada's wors...

OTTAWA – Figures released today show that INCO’s Copper Cliff smelter complex in Sudbury is no longer Canada’s worst single emitter of particulate matter into the air. That honour goes to SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power station, which spewed over 2.70 million kg into the atmosphere in 2002. The Copper Cliff smelter was second at 2.55 million kg.

The figures were part of a report prepared by ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE and the CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION naming the top polluters in Canada. The numbers include particulate matter and sulphur dioxide as reported to ENVIRONMENT CANADA. All told, Canadian industry released close to 4 billion kg of airborne particulates, 96% of which are associated with respiratory illnesses.

Other mineral producers on the list were IMC CANADA’s Belle Plaine potash operation (No.8 at 1.07 million kg), IMC ESTERHAZY’s K2 potash plant (No.9 at 874,000 kg), IRON ORE COMPANY OF CANADA in Labrador (No.13 at 774,000 kg), and SYNCRUDE CANADA at Fort McMurray, Alta. (No.19 at 615,000 kg).

The mining industry doesn’t fare so well on the list of toxic pollutants released into the air in 2002. Five mineral producers were among the worst 10: the Copper Cliff smelter (No.1), Inco’s Thompson, Man., operation (No.2), HUDSON BAY MINING & SMELTING at Flin Flon, Man. (No.3), Syncrude (No.5), and NORANDA’s Horne copper smelter in Quebec (No.8). FALCONBRIDGE’s smelter complex in Sudbury ranked 15th and SUNCOR’s oil sands operation ranked 17th. There is always room for improvement.

The complete report, "Shattering the Myth of Pollution Progress in Canada", may be downloaded for free at

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