folc.ca's comment on HAZCO's answer to FAQ #33
Note: The background text in the following was copied from the Frequently-asked Questions page at HAZCO's website, Nov. 2, 2005. HAZCO's answers to "frequently asked questions" deserve further comments. Those comments are inserted where required in HAZCO's text and are shown on yellow background.
From HAZCO's FAQ web page (quoted verbatim):
FAQ #33. What do you do with the sulphur once it arrives? How is it processed?
In terms of operations, molten sulphur will be received by one of three methods, pipeline, rail tank car or truck. The sulphur will be stored as a liquid in tanks before being pumped to the forming process. Hazco plans to use an environmental friendly technology provided by Sandvik Process Systems to process the liquid sulphur into a formed product (i.e. pastilles) suitable for export. The product will be stored on engineered storage pads and when volumes dictate loaded to rail car unit trains. The volumes of liquid and dry storage will be dependant on market demand for our services and will also grow with demand. This sulphur also can be poured into a block and recovered when conditions change.
Yes, yes, yes... we already know how the sulphur will arrive, although it would arrive by a combination of all three methods and not by just one of the three methods they mentioned, right?
HAZCO mentions that, "The sulphur will be stored as a liquid in tanks before being pumped to the forming process." HAZCO fails to mention that the majority of the sulphur arriving at their proposed site would be stored in a
sulphur block, and that the storage tanks to be used for the prill-forming process will have no more capacity than is needed to keep their forming process going when operating at full capacity.
The explanation of the storage method contained in HAZCO's answer to FAQ #33 is the one that the HAZCO representative in the HAZCO Lamont information office religiously, almost fanatically sticks to. Whenever anyone mentions the dirty, yellow expression "sulphur block", she becomes quite agitated and vehemently denies that HAZCO could possibly contemplate to inflict such a thing on the good residents of the County of Lamont.
Nevertheless, it stretches the imagination to believe that HAZCO would be able to accommodate 6,000 tonnes of liquid sulphur per week in storage tanks in whom it would be maintained in its liquid state until it is required to be processed. The tank-storage method is far too expensive to be used for all of the sulphur that arrives at the site and will continue to pile up until HAZCO perhaps manages to change the conditions for sulphur in the world market to convert the sulphur glut into a demand market for HAZCO's product.
If that were the case, there would not now be so many giant
sulphur blocks in Fort McMurray, for example, of whom new ones are being poured continuously (stinking up the air in Fort McMurray whenever the wind blows in that direction), while the older blocks gradually flake, crack and crumble under the influence of the weather. (See world sulphur market trend information)
In its last sentence in that answer that proves the rep in the HAZCO information office to be ill-informed("This sulphur also can be poured into a block and recovered when conditions change.") "This sulphur..." refers grammatically to "the volumes of [sulphur in] liquid and dry storage..." mentioned in the preceding sentence. Therefore it is anyone's guess which sulphur it is that will be poured into blocks to store it until the market demand makes it necessary to melt it once more so that it can then be formed into prills for shipping to market. It would not make any business sense to convert already-formed prills back into liquid sulphur that will be stored in blocks for long-term storage.
The question then is, how much land area will be required to house
sulphur blocks for long-term storage. Liquid sulphur will potentially keep-on arriving at a steadily increasing rate over the years, as more upgraders come on-stream that produce more and more sulphur as the years go by. In the meantime there is a glut of sulphur on the world market. That means that there is a fairly good chance that Dr. Clark of the University of Calgary is quite correct by estimating that Alberta will require a total land area of about 150km2 for the storage of excess sulphur for which no takers can be found. (See article and information on sulphur blocks.)
In consequence, it stands to reason that HAZCO will insist on and strive to get a foot in the door and a cut of the action in the actively growing sulphur storage business. That would explain why HAZCO continuously stresses the small size of the processing facility it wishes to establish on such a large chunk of our County's prime industrial land — a whole section of it, a little more than one percent of the total sulphur storage area required in the years to come in Alberta.
Here is a question that we must keep asking of our County Councillors: "If HAZCO receives the go-ahead for their proposed sulphur storage site, what portion of Alberta's required sulphur storage area will be located in the County of Lamont, all of it, only a square mile of it, or any portion in between?"
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Created Nov. 4, 2005
2005 11 20 (added link to information on world sulphur market trends and link to information on sulphur blocks)
2006 10 16 (reformated)