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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. 
Map of proposed location for the project, southeast of Newport.

Project information

Find project descriptions, maps, and other relevant information.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Administrative and SEPA process questions

What is SEPA? How does the environmental review process work? Is a checklist required to initiate SEPA? What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)? What is the process for developing an EIS? What is scoping? What type of comments are helpful during scoping? What happens if the project description is too vague, inaccurate or the project changes?

PacWest Silicon's proposal and SEPA

Did the company or Ecology skip a step in SEPA to expedite the process? Why hasn't Ecology started the public comment period? How can the public provide input on the proposed project?

Environmental permits and authorizations

What environmental permits and authorizations will be required for the project? When will environmental permitting begin? What is the process for obtaining a water right?