Vale has approved a $2-billion investment to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions at its smelter in Sudbury, Ontario, by 70% from current levels. Vale has already invested heavily in the “Clean AER Project,” spending some $100-million on research and development over the past four years in preparation for final project approval. Clean AER (AER stands for atmospheric emissions reduction) is in addition to the 90% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions realized at Sudbury since 1970 and complements the ongoing “re-greening” of the Sudbury region.

The 70% reduction will bring sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale’s Sudbury operations down to 45,000 mt/y, below government regulated emissions limits of 66,000 mt/y. The project will also reduce emissions of dust and metals by 35% to 40% from current levels.

Vale estimates the retrofit will require about 8-million person-hours of additional labor, with 1,300 workers on-site during peak construction.

Construction will begin with site preparation activities in April. Project completion is estimated near the end of 2015.