Wetlands not to be disturbed under silicon metal plant proposal: Hi Test Sand

Many of the concerns may have stemmed from the well-known danger of frac sand operations, which isn’t a part of Hi Test’s proposal.

Over the last week, many Goldenites expressed environmental concerns through social media following reports that Edmonton-based Hi Test Sand is considering opening a silicon metal plant south of town.

Environmental concerns are always a consideration with these kinds of projects, says Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm MacDonald, and he has had several productive discussions with Hi Test officials since the proposal’s inception.

“There’s no question that there is tremendous appeal to the possibility of substantial employment…The other factors, of course, are that we live in this area and many have for generations or intend to…you have to look after the environment and you have to make sure that we’re thinking of our friends and neighbours in the community who may be living in close proximity,” he said.

Many of the health and environmental concerns may have stemmed from the well-known danger of frac sand operations, which isn’t a part of Hi Test’s proposal.

Crushing silica can create large quantities of dust, which can have severe health-related impacts, including a lung disease known as silicatosis. Typically, it is the workers that are at the highest risk, but public in the surrounding area can be impacted as well.

However, and most importantly, the project that has been proposed for Golden doesn’t involve the crushing of silica at all. Instead, the silica would be mined, cleansed with water, and heated in one to four inch pieces to break the chemical bond between the silicon and the oxygen compound, releasing carbon dioxide and leaving behind pure silicon.

“If you’re looking for silicatosis as a potential issue…silicatosis is associated with crushing and grinding raw silica and we don’t do any of that. There has never been a case of silicatosis associated with silicon metal production,” said John Carlson, the vice-president of Hi Test Sand.

There was also some concern about the impact the operation could have on the Columbia River and the surrounding wetlands.

“We’re not pulling any water out of the river and we’re not putting anything into the river…we are not touching the wetlands that border our property at all,” Carlson said.

The $300 million project would bring 150 direct, full-time jobs should it go forward – plus many more jobs in a related capacity – and Golden is considered one of the two front-runners for a plant along with a site in Washington. A final decision from Hi Test Sand is expected within two to six months.

Silicon metal is a key component in the production of aluminum, computer chips and solar panels. The plant in Golden would be used for solar panel production.

 

Just Posted

Your weekly news recap

The Golden Star’s weekly 60-second news recap… Continue reading

Avalanche control scheduled tomorrow on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled along Highway 1 on Dec 15. From… Continue reading

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

UPDATE: Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke, set to reopen at 7:30 p.m.

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near the west entrance to… Continue reading

Golden Rockets win one on the road

The Golden Rockets faced off against the Creston Valley Thundercats on the… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read