Canada: Challenges for Dofasco
In recent years our Hamilton steelmaking operations, run by our subsidiary Dofasco in Canada, have worked hard to ensure that we both plan and react appropriately where our operations may have an environmental or community impact, consulting through a Community Liaison Committee and less formal community meetings, and regularly with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
As part of our operations in Hamilton, we operate three plants to produce coke, a fuel for our three blast furnaces. As a result of air emissions from these coke plants in 2012, we were fined in May 2014. Meanwhile in June 2013, after more than two years of studying our coke needs in Canada, as well as the performance and life expectancy of our coke plants, we decided that one of Hamilton’s coke plants would be closed in March 2015. Then, in early 2014 we finalised details of a $87 million investment programme over five years in order to undertake a major restoration of our other two coke plants. This will improve both their efficiency and environmental performance.
Despite these initiatives, we know we don’t always get it right. In September 2014, there was a leak at one of our steel finishing lines, where hydrochloric acid is used to ‘pickle’ the steel before galvanising. The waste solution leaked due to a faulty pipe connection and whilst we informed the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change immediately, and also later wrote to neighbouring households, we know we could have been a better neighbour by informing members of the community more promptly about the incident and any potential impact.