Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sudbury smelting operations

Sudbury smelting operations:
Sudbury is located in Canada and is considered as one of the most polluted cities on earth. The barren landscape, blackened rock faces, lack of vegetation and endless sea of dead tree stumps make this place seem like a different planet. The reason for the polluting industry around the city are the pentlandite, pyrite and pyrrhotite ores in the ground. They contain profitable amounts of many elements primarily nickel and copper, but also including smaller amounts of cobalt, platinum, gold, silver, selenium and tellurium. It also contains an unusually high concentration of sulfur. Local smelting of the ore releases this sulfur into the atmosphere where combines with water vapour to form sulfuric acid, contributing to acid rain. The effects of these smelters have been strikingly widespread: 40 square miles around Sudbury had been rendered completely barren of vegetation, 140 square miles around supported only shrub and herbaceous cover and vegetation had been in some way effected within a 1700 mile area. While building the "superstacks" of the smelters higher it has decreased the intensity of pollution in the immediate Sudbury area, much more of the surrounding region has now become effected:

One of the major polluting smelters is the Inco's Copper cliff processing facility. It is the largest nickel smelting operation in the world, with the second tallest chimney in the world (380m):

The area around this smelter is highly polluted. INCO also dumps it's waste molten slag after the processing of nickel in the surrounding area. It looks like a lava from a volcano. When the molten slag is being poured out of the ladles, the city skyline glows bright red and gives the impression of a volcano erupting:

Other smelters that contribute to the pollution around Sudbury are this smelter,and this one.

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