Superstack dismantling will begin in 2020, Vale says

Mining giant Vale says that the Superstack will be standing on Sudbury’s skyline until 2020, at which point the iconic structure will be slowly taken apart.

380-meter chimney has loomed over city since 1970

The Sudbury Superstack will slowly be dismantled beginning in 2020, but Vale says its two smaller stacks will be more efficient and help reduce emissions. (Yvon Theriault/ Radio-Canada CBC)

Mining giant Vale says that the Superstack will be standing on Sudbury's skyline until 2020, at which point the iconic structure will be slowly taken apart.

Angie Robson, Vale's manager of corporate affairs, told CBC News that with recent pushes by the company to reduce emissions, the stack has simply outlived its usefulness.

"It's simply too big for our needs, given the reduction in emission we've been able to achieve," Robson said. "So it's going to stay in service until 2020."

The 380-metre high stack was built in 1970 to disperse sulphur gases and other byproducts of the smelting process away from the city.

Angie Robson, Vale's manager of Corporate Affairs, says the Superstack is a symbol of how far the company — and the community — have come. (Roger Corriveau/CBC)

On Monday, Vale celebrated the completion of two new converters, a wet gas cleaning plant, a new secondary baghouse and fan building and reconstruction of the smelter converter flues.

The $1 billion project will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 85 per cent, and metal particulate emissions by 40 per cent, the company said.

With the project's completion, the company said it can now turn its attention to the last days of the Superstack.

"There's a huge steel liner inside the stack that needs to come out right away because of corrosion issues," Robson said. "In 2020 that will come out. In the years after that the concrete shell will slowly come down."

As for the stack's place in Sudbury's history, Robson said the company recognizes its symbolic importance, but is not entertaining ideas of keeping it standing.

"I think it's a great symbol of how far we've come," she said. "We've gotten a lot of feedback from the community."

"Some people think it's great to take the Superstack down, and some have a real emotional connection to it."

To hear the full interview with Angie Robson, click the audio clip below.


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