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Horne Foundry: Quebec promises nothing, despite threats of closure | Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb14,2024

Fonderie Horne : Québec promises nothing, despite threats of closure | Quality of the 'air à Rouyn-Noranda

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The Horne Foundry is calling into question the investments announced to reduce its carbon emissions in particular arsenic. (Archive photo)

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The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, refuses to comment on the threat of imminent closure of the Horne Foundry, simply maintaining that the company will have to respect the obligations of its ministerial authorization.

In an internal document, of which Radio-Canada obtained a copy, the multinational Glencore, owner of the Horne Foundry, questions its intention to invest 750 million to reduce its polluting emissions. She fears in particular that Quebec will require her to respect Quebec standards on arsenic when the authorization is renewed in 2028.

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The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, maintains that the Horne Foundry must respect the terms of its most recent ministerial authorization, granted in March 2023 .

They have clear obligations for the current year and subsequent years with precise results for the end of the authorization, but we cannot commit to the next one, which I understand that the Foundry would like us to do. do. In 4 years, with public health, we will sit down again to see what the terms of the next one will be, maintains Minister Charette.

Interviewed in the corridors of the National Assembly, his colleague Pierre Dufour, Member of Parliament for Abitibi-Est and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, believes that there are negotiation games there- inside, possibly.

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MP Monsef Derraji of the Liberal Party of Quebec admits to being worried. (Archive photo)

Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

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Air quality in Rouyn-Noranda

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He adds, however, that the foundry represents an important asset for the region and for Quebec.

I think there are discussions that need to take place. There is an element that we never talk about in this file: imagine all the products that end up in this place. Where would we take the computers and cell phones that we collect?, wonders Mr. Dufour.

In the Liberal Party, parliamentary leader Monsef Derraji says he is worried.

I am seriously concerned about the future of the copper value chain. I invite Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon to have a very serious plan, he says.

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Present in Rouyn-Noranda several months ago, solidarity MP Alejandra Zaga Mendez believes that the multinational Glencore is using negotiation tactics. (Archive photo)

This concern is not shared by Québec Solidaire, which instead sees it as a strategy on the part of Glencore.

Nobody wants the smelter to close. What the multinational is doing at the moment is putting pressure on to get money from Quebec. What the foundry does is scare the world. We must not give in to pressure from a multinational, maintains Alejandra Zaga Mendez, spokesperson for Québec Solidaire on environmental matters.

They are trying, also supports the spokesperson for the Stopping Discharges and Toxic Emissions of Rouyn-Noranda (ARET) committee, Nicole Desgagnés.

That is part of a negotiation strategy, blackmail. This is not the first time this has happened; at several points, we have threatened to close it. We are more faced with a company trying to negotiate, perhaps additional financing and seeing if we could not reduce the requirements. It's as if they are already negotiating the next ministerial authorization.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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