Since the late 1970’s, $1.5 billion has been invested in a modernization program to improve our operational and environmental performance. We realized our largest improvements in the 1990s through the introduction of the KIVCET smelter. As a result, emissions to air and water have been reduced by over 95%.
Teck Trail Operations is also focused on improving air quality through reducing dusting offsite, referred to as Fugitive Dust. The Fugitive Dust Reduction program is aimed at reducing sources of dust such as stockpiles, open mixing of materials, and vehicle traffic.
A new Smelter Recycle building is currently under construction and expected to be operational in the fall of 2016. The building is estimated to reduce fugitive dust emissions by approximately 25%, with a subsequent improvement in community air quality. Larger than a Canadian football field (approximately 168 x 75 meters) the building will enclose storage and mixing of in-process materials. An additional, a smaller building for the same purpose was completed in the spring of 2014.
In July 2014, Trail Operations completed construction of a new acid plant, to replace two of three existing plants onsite that were over 35 years old. The new technology significantly improves operating reliability and flexibility, and reduces downtime and maintenance costs. Additionally, the new plant reduces sulphur dioxide emissions by up to 10 to 15 percent.
The Acid Plant is part of our zinc production process, and converts sulphur dioxide gas into sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid is sent to our Warfield operation for use in fertilizer production and is sold for other industrial applications.
More information on community air quality and how we are partnering with the community members and regulatory agencies towards continuous improvement can be found at the Trail Area Health and Environment Program website. Please visit www.thep.ca.