History  |  Process  |  Quality Programs

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.


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 (78 K PNG).
Read more about products.


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 (283 K PDF).

In 1992, the refinery became the first zinc processing facility in the world to achieve International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9002 certification for all stages of its quality management system related to zinc manufacturing.

In 1995, the ISO 9002 certification was extended to include its quality management system related to the manufacture of sulfuric acid.

In 2003, the quality management systems related to zinc and sulfuric acid manufacturing received ISO 9001 certification.

In 2005, the Processing Facility received ISO 14001 certification covering the management of all environmental processes.

In 2009, the refinery's laboratory was accredited by the center of expertise in environmental analysis of Quebec (CEAEQ) according to the provisions of the Environment Quality Act and in accordance with standards and accreditation requirements, including international standard ISO/IEC 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 (234 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 (235 K PDF).

View View HSEC and Human Rights Policy (234 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 the PALA Accreditation including International Standard ISO/IEC 17025, version 2005 (248 K PDF).

View View Laboratory Quality Policy (198 K PDF).

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