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Vale Greenhouse celebrates 50th anniversary

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The re-greening of Sudbury has gained international attention. Thursday in Copper Cliff, Vale celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Base Metals Greenhouse.

In the last half-century, the greenhouse has been growing seedlings that have helped transform the area from a sea of black rock to a sea of green, reversing some of the environmental impacts of the mining industry.

Since it opened, the greenhouse has produced five million young trees that have been planted across the Sudbury area as part of re-greening efforts.

“There is a legacy that the mining industry has here in the area, but I think the need for it is, really, around responsibility, making sure that we are cleaning things up and also setting an example for what the future can and should be,” said Gord Gilpin, Vale’s director of Ontario operations.

The greenhouse is also home to two other programs that support restoration efforts.

“The big story behind this is the commitment shown on many different front towards a clean and healthy environment both looking backwards and looking forwards,” said Gilpin.

There are 30 individual bee hives at two locations in Copper Cliff.

“Honey bees are important pollinators and we understand that they are under stress and are threatened,” said Quentin Smith, Vale Greenhouse supervisor.

“We read about that problem and we hear about that problem, so this is our way of trying to do something about that problem.”

The greenhouse also operates a fish farm. Since 2011, Vale has released more than 100,000 fish into local waterways with the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“We have sort of over the years almost turned this greenhouse into sort of like a living lab or a biodiversity lab,” said Smith.

This fall, another 200,000 seedlings grown at the Vale Base Metals Greenhouse will be planted a various sites throughout the city, including the company’s smelter footprint. 

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