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INEOS Styrolution to close its Sarnia facility

INEOS Styrolution is seen in Sarnia, Ont. on April 22, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London) INEOS Styrolution is seen in Sarnia, Ont. on April 22, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)
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A Sarnia plastics plant accused of emitting elevated levels of benzene into the environment is shutting down by June of 2026.

“This difficult business decision to permanently close our Sarnia site was made following a lengthy evaluation process and is based on the economics of the facility within a wider industry context,” said INEOS Styrolution CEO Steve Harrington in a news release.

“The long-term prospects for the Sarnia site have worsened to the point that it is no longer an economically viable operating asset,” he added.

The nearby Aamjiwnaang First Nation says it has recorded benzene levels up to 424 times above acceptable levels coming from the plant, making people ill.

In April, the company said it was temporarily shutting down the plant to perform maintenance and address a mechanical issue.

The next month, Aamjiwnaang First Nation officials declared a state of emergency. The provincial Ministry of the Environment ordered the company to suspend production until the issue is resolved while the federal government also ordered plants in Sarnia's Chemical Valley to limit benzene emissions.

“Our decision to permanently close the Sarnia site by June 2026 is irrespective of the current situation,” the company added in its news release Tuesday.

The plant on Tashmoo Avenue employs roughly 80 people.

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