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Opportunity in Canada for U.S. Manufacturers of Environmental Cleanup Supplies and Technologies

SUMMARY: The government of British Columbia recently launched a public-private partnership designed to clean up Britannia Mine, one of the worst sources of metal pollution in North America. The $40-50 million cleanup project will begin in fall, 2001, nearly thirty years after the mine’s closure. The Britannia Mine Cleanup Agreement provides major export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers of environmental cleanup supplies and technologies associated with water neutralization.

BACKGROUND: The Britannia Mine Cleanup Agreement is a landmark agreement that aims to eliminate the flow of highly acidic water from Britannia mine to Howe Sound, 31 miles north of Vancouver. Britannia’s polluted water is the result of years of acid rock drainage caused by the exposure of sulfide-bearing ores to air and water. In order to eliminate the pollution that has been seeping into Howe Sound since the mine’s closure in 1974, the British Columbia government and Copper Beach Estates Ltd. have designed a plan to treat the acid rock drainage as well as the contaminated soil at the site.

The first stage of the project, beginning in summer 2001, involves detailed environmental and geological site assessments. In this stage, Environment Canada will also determine whether soil remediation is required in the area surrounding the mine. The second phase of the project calls for the construction of an $8 million water treatment plant, which will collect and treat the water draining through Britannia mine before it enters Howe Sound. The treatment plant will rely upon technology that neutralizes the polluted water’s acidity levels through the addition of lime. Adding the lime will remove toxic metals from the water and transform them into sludge, which will then be returned to the old mine site approximately 1,000 meters above sea level. The treatment plant is currently being designed and tendering for its construction will be awarded in mid-August. Once the treatment plant becomes operational in 2003, soil and groundwater remediation programs will begin if required.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR U.S. FIRMS: The Britannia mine clean-up project offers numerous export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers of water treatment equipment and supplies. Firms that supply cost-effective equipment for the treatment of acid rock drainage and soil contamination should be aware of export opportunities in British Columbia. Tendering for the Britannia mine clean-up project will be awarded in mid-August, and bidding is open to American firms.

The Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce offers a number of excellent programs to help export-ready companies identify and secure relationships with quality distributors in foreign markets. The Gold Key Service, in particular, can help U.S. manufacturers identify qualified foreign distributors. For more information contact: Cheryl Schell
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Consulate General
1095 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2M6
Tel: 604-685-3382
Fax: 604-687-6095
Email: cheryl.schell@mail.doc.gov

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