Ciner Building (copy)

Sweetwater County, Rock Springs and Green River are among the entities seeking impact assistance funding as part of Ciner’s plan to build a new refinery unit, a new ore shaft, rail track loop and other related facilities. The company said the proposed expansion will produce an additional 1.1 million tons of soda ash each year at the Big Island Mine and Refinery north of Green River.

GREEN RIVER — A proposal for a trona facility expansion project at Ciner Wyoming LLC continues to move forward.

The company filed an application with the Wyoming Industrial Council on June 8. At a meeting Tuesday, Sweetwater County commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with the cities of Rock Springs and Green River for the distribution of impact assistance fees from the project. They also approved a letter of interest to participate in Ciner’s Industrial Siting Council hearing.

Ciner’s application is for a permit to construct and operate the Unit 8 Capacity Expansion Project. The expansion would produce an additional 1.1 million tons of soda ash each year at the company’s Big Island Mine and Refinery north of Green River. The project will include construction of a new refinery unit (Unit 8) as well as a new ore shaft, rail track loop and other related facilities.

Eric Bingham, Sweetwater County land use director, told commissioners Tuesday that he met the previous week with Rock Springs and Green River officials to discuss impact assistance funds available from the project. The amounts decided upon and a schedule of payment are included in the MOU.

Under the agreement, Sweetwater County would receive $1,759,159. As part of the request, the county will be representing entities including Road and Bridge, emergency services, Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, Joint Communications Board, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and Southwest Counseling.

Rock Springs is requesting $652,926 in impact assistance, and Green River’s total comes to $338,883. The 24-month payment schedule would begin once construction starts.

The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council will conduct a contested case hearing on the application at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 3-4 at the Holiday Inn at 1675 Sunset Drive in Rock Springs. Those eligible and wanting to participate must notify the Industrial Siting Council in writing by July 24 and participate in the pre-hearing meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Holiday Inn in Rock Springs, according to the notice of hearing.

THE PROJECT

The project area includes 274.2 acres of land with 10.7 acres privately owned by Ciner Wyoming LLC and 263.5 acres of publicly-owned land with surface management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Expansion project construction is expected to take two years and is anticipated to begin during the fourth quarter of 2020. Ciner anticipates employing an average of 234 construction workers during each of the two years of construction with a peak employment of 560 halfway through the project, according to the MOU. Only 15 percent of the project workforce is expected to be hired from workers already residing in Sweetwater County.

Ciner’s operational workforce is expected to increase by up to 71 workers once the expansion is completed.

A copy of Ciner’s permit application is available to review at the Sweetwater County Library, 300 N. First E. in Green River or http://deq.wyoming.gov/isd/application-permits/resources/ciner-unit-8-expansion-project/?no_redirect=true.

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