Community-Based Risk Assessment Overview

Pioneering Process

Community-Based Risk Assessment Overview

Timeline of Vale's soil study


Vale’s (formerly Inco's) Port Colborne Refinery began operating in 1918, with the nickel refinery ceasing operations in 1984. Other operations continue today (producing electrocobalt, finished nickel products and processing, precious metals).


Ministry of Environment (now MECP) studies provided clear evidence that soils in the vicinity of the Port Colborne refinery contained elevated levels of nickel, copper and cobalt due to historical refinery emissions. The MECP recommended conducting human health and environmental risk assessments.​


On a voluntary basis, Vale initiated the Port Colborne Community-Based Risk Assessment (CBRA) alongside various stakeholders, including the MECP, the Niagara Region Public Health Department (NRPHD), the City of Port Colborne, Stantec, and a Public Liaison Committee.


In addition to the three risk assessments that comprise the CBRA, and due to community concerns, Vale commissioned the Community Health Assessment Project (CHAP), which was carried out between 2002 and 2005 by the Ventana Clinical Research Corporation (Ventana). CHAP is a comprehensive scientific health assessment that comprises a cross-sectional community-based survey of health conditions and symptoms, as well as hospital discharge patterns for Port Colborne, and compares these to what was reported for a group of Ontario communities and for the province of Ontario. Ultimately, the CHAP study concluded that Port Colborne was no different than in other Ontario communities and that no further study was warranted.


The MECP began its review of the CBRA in 2010, following the CHAP, and in 2011 the MECP provided their review comments and requests for clarification on the risk assessment reports.


As a result of MECP comments, Vale undertook additional analyses and studies and produced an updated report in 2014, containing new data and updated findings.


Vale continued to work with the MECP to finalize the CBRA and develop an Action Plan.


Vale released the CBRA and Action Plan to the public.


We want to hear from you

Voice your views, questions or concerns about Vale’s Port Colborne Operations:
• Call our Community Concerns Line 24/7 at 289-478-VALE (8253)
• Email