21 Sep 2010

MOZAMBIQUE - BHP Billiton Plans Six Month Bypass of Smelter Smokestack Scrubbers

MOZAMBIQUE - BHP Billiton Plans Six Month Bypass of Smelter Smokestack Scrubbers

BHP Billiton Plans Six Month Bypass of Smelter Smokestack Scrubbers
Nastasya Tay
MAPUTO, Sep 20 (IPS) - Civil society groups are challenging a six-month authorisation granted aluminium giant BHP Billiton to emit potentially dangerous fumes from its Mozal smelter into the air without treating them first.

In May, the government gave BHP Billiton’s Mozal smelter, located in the town of Matola, 17 kilometres from the capital, the go-ahead to bypass two Fume Treatment Centres (FTCs) at its carbon plant, which re-processes and produces anodes for use in producing aluminium.

Authorisation for the bypass, which Mozal says is required to rebuild and upgrade the FTCs, has been granted for a period of six months, and is due to begin in late October 2010.

Environmental groups opposed

Civil society groups in Maputo and Matola filed a court action Sep. 14 to reverse the government’s decision, which they say is based on insufficient information about the potential impact to human health and the environment around the smelter.

The presence of fluoride in the anode production process means that compounds which pose both short and long-term threats to health are part of the cocktail of fumes during reprocessing. The purpose of the FTCs is to filter the carbon plant's emissions of potentially harmful pollutants, before it is released into the air.

Bypassing the FTCs means that compounds including hydrofluoric acid and sulphur dioxide - which in sufficient quantities can cause hypocalcemia, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and death - will be released into the atmosphere in greater concentrations.................

Don't think they would get away with that in Europe or the USA - I forgot! They do, they want to put it in our water

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