PacWest Silicon smelter project

Project status: Placed on hold indefinitely, following a July 2019 request from PacWest Silicon.

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

The first step in any environmental review is to conduct a study to evaluate impacts of the proposal and potential options to help protect people and the environment.
We reviewed public comments to prepare a scoping report for a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The scoping report was not completed, however, because the applicant requested Ecology stop work on the environmental review after a bid period and before we came to terms of agreement on a contractor. If the applicant indicates they are interested in starting the environmental review process again, Ecology will restart the bid process to hire a contractor to begin writing the EIS. 

PacWest Silicon proposes to build the smelter on more than 180 acres to produce up to 73,000 tons of silicon metal each year.

The manufacturing process combines quartz rock (supplied by the company HiTest Sand) wood chips, and coal and charcoal with extremely high temperatures to produce the metal.

Environmental review (SEPA)

An EIS can analyze probable impacts on both the natural environment and nearby communities, including how the project could affect air quality, plant and animal habitat, transportation, and cultural resources. Multiple alternatives can be studied in an EIS.

After public input is considered, we finalize the scope of the EIS and then prepare a draft study that will be available for public review and comment.

The final study is an impartial, comprehensive document used as resource for future decision-makers and the public to evaluate the company’s permit applications.

Note: The timeline below is an early representation of the original schedule. In July of 2019, this process was put on hold until further notice following a request from PacWest Silicon.

Tentative review schedule subject to change. Plain text version.
Project information Public review and comment
Map of proposed location for the project, southeast of Newport.

Project location

PacWest Silicon is proposing to build a smelter on more than 180 acres at the Washington-Idaho border to produce up to 73,000 tons of silicon metal each year. 

Silicon metal can be used in the manufacture of many common household products, photovoltaic solar cells, electronics and steel.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Administrative and SEPA process questions

PacWest Silicon's proposal and SEPA

Environmental permits and authorizations