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PacWest Silicon smelter project

Project status: Proposed. We're preparing for environmental review.

PacWest Silicon is proposing to build a silica smelter near the city of Newport in Pend Oreille County.

Our role in the project will be to:
  • Conduct the environmental review process under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). 
  • Issue environmental permits consistent with federal and state laws and rules.
  • Offer opportunities for public engagement.
No permit decisions can happen until after the environmental review is completed. 
PacWest Silicon is proposing to build a smelter to produce silicon metal that can be used in aluminum, silicone polymer, and polysilicon production. The facility could produce 73,000 tons of silicon each year. 

The manufacturing process converts quartz rock (supplied by the company HiTest Sand) into silicon metal by combining the rock with coal and wood chips in two submerged arc furnaces that can reach extremely high temperatures. This industrial process requires a federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air quality permit and a state Notice of Construction permit. Other environmental requirements may apply and will be identified through the environmental review process. 
Environmental review (SEPA)

The SEPA review process helps agency decision-makers, applicants, and the public understand how the entire proposal will affect the environment.

The environmental review may include and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS begins with scoping, which initiates participation by the public, tribal governments, and other local, state and federal agencies to comment on a proposal’s alternatives, impacts, and potential mitigation measures to be analyzed in the EIS. 

We received a project proposal on June 5, 2018, and are preparing for environmental review.

PSD permitting process Health Impact Assessment