MAC: Mines and Communities

Inco Limited Named Worst Mining Polluter In Canada

Published by MAC on 2003-07-24
Source: PollutionWatch

Inco Limited Named Worst Mining Polluter in Canada

24 July 2003

Press Release from PollutionWatch, Toronto, Canada

PollutionWatch web site ranks pollution from mining sector across Canada

Inco Limited holds the top spot on the list of the biggest polluters in the metal mining sector, released today by Environmental Defence Canada. The list is based on pollution data collected by the federal government. Inco is by far the worst mining polluter in Canada, releasing 704,808 kg of poisonous heavy metals in 2001 from three facilities - 621,724 kg alone coming from its Central Mills facility located in Copper Cliff, Ontario near Sudbury.

"The amount of pollution from Inco's mining facilities is more than double that of the second highest mining polluter in Canada," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Canada. "Inco produces nearly three times as much nickel as its competitor Falconbridge, but over 13 times more pollution. Clearly, Inco is anything but a responsible corporate citizen."

Using the latest federal government data obtained from the PollutionWatch ( web site, Environmental Defence Canada's list ranks the Top 10 metal mining polluters in Canada according to the amount of pollution released into the air and water.



Total Pollution

1 Inco Limited 704,808 kg 2 Williams Operating Corporation 255,152 kg 3 Placer Dome (CLA) Limited 193,810 kg 4 Barrick Gold Corporation 118,424 kg 5 Services Minéraux Industriels Inc 105,505 kg 6 Wabush Mines 100,300 kg 7 Cameco Corporation 88,812 kg 8 Noranda Inc 54,226 kg 9 Goldcorp Inc 54,146 kg 10 Teck Cominco Metals 53,898 kg

Falconbridge Ltd. falls just outside the Top 10 list, producing a total of 52,326 kg of pollution.

Canadians are breathing in toxic chemicals every day due to the high levels of pollution being emitted from mining facilities across the country, which include lead, arsenic, nickel, cadmium, and mercury. These pollutants have been declared legally toxic in Canada. Lead is associated with kidney and blood problems, as well as neurological disorders. Arsenic and nickel (and its compounds) cause cancer, and are believed not to have a safe threshold for human exposure. Cadmium is considered a probable carcinogen when inhaled and is associated with the development of kidney disease. Long-term exposure to mercury can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, and developing fetuses.

"The mining industry must do more to reduce its toxic emissions because breathing these poisonous chemicals is harmful to our health," said Dr. Smith. "Both the federal and provincial governments must get serious about toxic pollution. They can start by phasing out the release of dangerous heavy metals, like lead and cadmium."

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