Vale to start process of taking superstack out of service

Vale says its one step closer to taking the superstack out of service at its Copper Cliff smelter complex.

Shell of superstack to remain a part of Sudbury’s skyline for ‘years to come,’ company says

Vale says crews will start removing the steel liner of the superstack, but the concrete shell is expected to remain standing for now. (Roger Corriveau CBC)

Vale says its one step closer to taking the superstack out of service at its Copper Cliff smelter complex.

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

In 2017, the company started building two smaller, more energy-efficient stacks, with the intent of replacing the superstack.

The company says it has completed the final tie-in of the flue systems to the new stacks. It adds it's also taken its copper stack out of service at the Copper Cliff smelter complex during planned maintenance. As a result, the company says it can "complete the process of taking the superstack out of service."

"Completing this process of taking the superstack completely out of service is symbolic of Vale's evolution towards reducing our environmental footprint with innovative and more sustainable smelter operations," Dino Otranto, chief operating officer with Vale's North Atlantic Operations and Asian Refineries said in a release.

Vale says the two smaller stacks "will require far less energy to operate" than the superstack, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the company's Copper Cliff smelter by "approximately 40 per cent."

It adds its Clean AER (atmospheric emissions reduction) project "will reduce particulate emissions by 40 per cent and dramatically reduce SO2 emissions by 85 per cent."

Superstack to stay standing

The company says the two stacks will result in natural gas consumption being cut nearly in half "from 94 million cubic metres per year to 48 million cubic metres per year."

"This savings is equivalent to the average fuel consumption of approximately 17,500 homes, or approximately 1/3 of all the households in Greater Sudbury," the company stated.

Vale says once testing is complete on the new stacks, the superstack will be taken out of service.

Crews will then work to remove the steel liner which the company says will take about two years to complete.

"There is no immediate need for the concrete shell to be demolished and it is expected to remain a part of the Sudbury skyline for several years to come," the company said.


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