Operations

History  |  Process  |  Quality Programs

History
Early in 1961, five mining companies formed a company to build an electrolytic zinc processing facility with a capacity of 65,000 tonnes per year.

- The Processing Facility was commissioned in August 1963.

- Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec, was selected as the location for the new Processing Facility because of its easy access to available rail, maritime and truck routes, a reliable outlet for sulphuric acid, availability of ample power at competitive rates, availability of skilled labor and an adequate supply of cooling water.

- All of these features remain as competitive advantages for the Processing Facility today.

- Since the inception of operations at the Processing Facility:

- It has produced 9.5 million tonnes of refined zinc.

- Capacity has quadrupled to 265,000 tonnes per year.

- Products such as jumbos, shot and granulated zinc have been developed.

- It was the first zinc Processing Facility in the world to be ISO certified for quality.

- The Processing Facility is an industry leader in environmental and sustainable development performance. The Jarofix Process, which was developed at the refinery, is sold worldwide to other zinc producers. It was also one of the first zinc processing facilities to be ISO certified for environmental performance.

- Over the past 50 years, the Processing Facility has provided employment to approximately 2,700 people; today there are 590 employees.

- Productivity has increased to 460 tonnes per employee in 2012 from 40 tonnes per employee in 1963.

- During the past 10 years, $1.5 million has been donated to support a variety of community programs.

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Process
Zinc concentrates are produced globally by zinc mines and are then shipped to processing facilities forfurther processing and refining. These concentrates typically contain approximately 53% zinc, 32% sulphur and 9% iron.

The Processing Facility extracts and separates the zinc metal from the concentrate and charges a processing fee for performing this service.

The extracted zinc metal is either sold directly to end-users as commodity-grade zinc or is further transformed into specific zinc-based products. This value-adding process results in premiums being paid over the LME zinc price.

View Refinery Flow Sheet (600 K JPG).
Read more about products.

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Quality Programs
Beginning in 1988, the Processing Facility's first quality assurance policy and quality management system were put into place. Quality management systems include standard procedures and documentation controls for all major steps of both zinc and sulphuric acid production lines. Internal and independent external registrations, regularly audit these quality systems. Through the application of various management programs based on international standards, the Processing Facility distinguishes itself from its peers.

View Quality Policy (20 K PDF).

In 1992, the Processing Facility became the first zinc refinery in the world to obtain the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9002 certification for all steps of its zinc production process. In 1995, the ISO 9002 certification was extended to cover the Processing Facility's production of sulphuric acid. In 2003, the zinc production process and the sulphuric acid plant received ISO 9001 certification. In 2005, the Processing Facility earned its ISO 14001 certification covering all environmental processes at the plant. In 2009, the Processing Facility's Laboratory was accredited by the Centre d'’Expertise en Analyse Environnementale du Québec for its aptitude and ability to perform environmental work in accordance with international standards ISO/CEI 17025.

What is ISO certification?
ISO standards specify the requirements for state-of-the-art products, services, processes, materials and systems, and for good conformity assessment, managerial and organizational practice. ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in. They ensure vital features such as quality, ecology, safety, economy, reliability, compatibility, interoperability, efficiency and effectiveness. They facilitate trade, spread knowledge, and share technological advances and good management practices

The ISO 9000 family is primarily concerned with "quality management". This means what the organization does to fulfill: the customer's quality requirements, and applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.

View ISO 9001 certificate (105 K PDF).

The ISO 14000 family is primarily concerned with "environmental management". This means what the organization does to: minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

View ISO 14001 certificate (105 K PDF).

View View Environmental Policy (51 K PDF).

ISO/IEC 17025 specifies the general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, including sampling. The objective is ensuring and maintaining a sufficiently high level of analytical quality to give clients who use these laboratories complete confidence in the analytical information they provide.

View ISO 17025 certificate (domain 94) (220 K PDF).

View ISO 17025 certificate (domain 88) (92 K PDF).

View View Laboratory Quality Policy (71 K PDF).

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