Modernisation and the environment

Modernisation and the environment

By modernising Rio Tinto’s Kitimat smelter, overall emissions will be reduced by nearly 50 per cent. That’s good news for our employees, their families, and the communities in which we operate.

While SO2 emissions will increase as a result of the increase in alumimium production, extensive environmental studies were undertaken to assess the potential impacts of increased emissions on soils, vegetation, water, and human health. 

The results indicate that there will be limited effects from SO2 on human health and the surrounding environment because a modernised smelter means, that even though certain emissions might increase, concentrations in ambient air in Kitimat will be similar to before. This is possible because SO2 from the modernised smelter will be captured and released through high stacks at high temperature and high velocity, which disperses SO2 much more efficiently than before.

SO2 Environmental Effects Monitoring

Rio Tinto has established an Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program to monitor and report out on SO2 emissions from our smelter operations and any potential effects. The EEM program is based on an Adaptive Management Approach, through which we are committed to extensive monitoring, regular reporting and measurable actions when required.

Regular reporting

As we modernise our operations in British Columbia, we are dedicated to working with the community to share information and respond to community interests.

You can view our annual environmental and EEM reports in our reports section.

If you have questions or have feedback about our EEM program, we encourage you to email us.