Amendments registered in June expanded the application of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (SOR 2002-222) to encompass the process of hydrometallurgy, and more specifically to designate Sandy Pond in Newfoundland as a tailing impoundment area. The amendments will apply generally to any facility that uses the process of hydrometallurgy, but were proposed by Department of Fisheries and Oceans ("DFO") in response to a proposed nickel-processing facility in Newfoundland and Labrador that would use the technology for the first time in Canada.
Prior to these amendments, the MMER did not apply to hydrometallurgy, which generates fewer air emissions than conventional technology but that produces solid waste that will produce acid if exposed to air. The amendments were made by DFO to ensure that fish and fish habitat are protected from effluent when wastes are disposed underwater. See Canada Gazette, June 10, 2009.