Teck Trail’s new state-of-the-art acid plant hit the halfway mark of construction this week.
Local and provincial leaders met with Teck representatives at the site on May 22 to hear an update on the $174-million build, which is slated to be fully operational by next summer.
“Today is all about celebrating an important milestone in a major project here at Trail Operations – 50 per cent completion of the No. 2 Acid Plant, ” General Manager Thompson Hickey began. “And celebrating the achievements of our project’s team as well as the many contractors, including CIMS, West Kootenay Mechanical, A-Plus Electric and AMEC Foster Wheeler, who worked so hard to reach this milestone.”
The new facility is a replica of the No. 1 Acid Plant which was completed in 2014. Together the new technology will replace three acid plants, which were constructed in the 1960s and ‘70s, that have now reached the end of their lifespan.
“The No. 2 Acid Plant is the latest major investment to further strengthen Trail’s position as a world-class metallurgical facility and an important part of our business,” noted Shehzad Bharmal, Vice President, North America Operations, Base Metals, Teck. “Teck, as a company, is committed to the future of Trail Operations. That is why we have worked hard over the years to strengthen the operational and environmental performance of every aspect of the smelter.”
The acid plants are part of zinc production processes, and convert SO2 gas into sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid is sent to Warfield Operations for use in fertilizer production and it is sold in the open market for other industrial applications.
The new plant will further reduce SO2 (sulphur dioxide) emissions.
“It’s so great to see this continuing investment made in Trail Operations,” Mayor Mike Martin said.
“This is new acid plant is going to be replacing two old units, and as was indicated today, it will have a 40-year asset life,” Martin told the Times. “So it will help, in part, to secure Trail Operations for the future.”
As far as the City of Trail goes, any environmental improvement that is made by Teck, is a benefit, he added.
“This is just another example of that, replacing an old unit with one that will be operating with higher efficiency in removing sulphur dioxide, so again, we’ll see improvement for the community.”
Investments such as the KIVCET Smelter and the Nov. 1 Acid Plant have reduced emissions from the Trail plant by 95 per cent, and the No. 2 Acid Plant will further reduce emissions while enhancing the efficiency of operations, Hickey noted.
“This investment is good for our operation and for the community, helping to ensure that Trail Operations continues to be an economic drive in the region for decades to come,” Hickey said. “At Teck, nothing is more important than everyone going home safe and healthy every day, so I’m very pleased to say we’ve also reached this important milestone with zero Lost Time Injuries.”
Trail Operations houses one of the world’s largest smelting and refining complexes, which produces refined zinc and lead and a variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals, and fertilizer products. The site employs approximately 1,400 people and has been in operation for over a century.