Czech Spolana to close mercury chlorine production by mid-2017

16 September 2013 15:47  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Czech polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant Spolana must stop using mercury-based chlorine production technology by mid-2017, a three-year extension on the previous 2014 deadline, the Central Bohemia regional government said on Monday.

Spolana had requested that the deadline for switching away from the technology, based on amalgam electrolysis, be set as 2020, it added.

The new deadline was agreed as part of the renewal of Spolana's integrated permit for production.

As part of the relicensing, the regional government also ordered Spolana, based by the River Elbe in Neratovice, to provide new monitoring of dioxins in waste and mercury levels in fish.

Spolana cited financial pressures generated by the economic downturn in arguing for a more generous deadline for the replacement of its mercury-based technology, most probably with membrane electrolysis technology.

Czech environmental group Arnika, which as far back as 2007 pushed for a 2010 deadline, this time around lobbied the local government to at least impose an end-of-2016 deadline.

Arnika criticised Anwil – the Polish owner of Spolana, which itself is owned by oil and petrochemicals group PKN Orlen – for dragging out the negotiations.

“We could have had a compromise agreement as early as April this year if the Polish management of Anwil had not insisted that it wanted to run the outdated technology until 2020,” said Jindrich Petrlik, a toxic materials and waste expert at Arnika who was the chief representative for all the NGOs in the deadline negotiations.

However, Anwil said pursuing thorough negotiations to secure a satisfactory outcome was important when it came to maintaining the financial health of the company.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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