18 May 2021

In a public meeting held last week, The Port of Victoria received positive feedback from a third-party environmental evaluation regarding the safety of a proposed steel dust recycling facility. This new development further solidifies the anticipated benefits of the proposed project, which would bring 60 economically resilient jobs to the community and expand the local tax base. The Port has been in discussions with Zinc Resources, LLC for a 25-acre site to develop a $60 million state-of-the-art facility to safely refine Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) dust, which is considered hazardous, into value-added products. Zinc Resources, LLC has stated it is committed to responsible recycling through exceeding industry standards.

This project, which will be the only facility of its kind in this region, will be subject to multiple federal and state environmental regulations. The site will use a zero-waste Waelz Kiln, which is considered the best available technology by environmental regulatory agencies, to safely refine steel dust into two value-added products used in the steel and concrete industries. The entire facility will be kept under negative pressure with a specialized air filtration system, have 24/7 monitoring, and recorded computer-controlled operations. The dust will be transported in sealed containers.

Since the site will handle hazardous materials, the Port hired HDR, Inc, an independent environmental consultant, to evaluate the proposed site. HDR analyzed the company's Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air permit documentation and the resulting public comments, researched the safety of a similar facility, and reviewed the source of the EAF dust. The experts concluded that no areas of concern were found and agreed with TCEQ's issuance of the draft permit document.

Addressing expressed apprehensions made in public comments to the TCEQ and public officials regarding air quality, emission calculations, proximity to residential areas, and enforceability of operating conditions, HDR explained how those factors and issues are identified, accounted for, and taken into consideration as a part of TCEQ’s air quality permitting review and issuance process.

The process requires compliance with regulations created to protect public health and welfare concerning air emissions. HDR, Inc. recommended Zinc Resources, LLC update the EAF dust composition information listed in the permit application to ensure safety and consistency, and Zinc Resources is in the process of making those improvements now. HDR, Inc also reviewed a similar facility in Alabama and found no violations that adversely impacted human health or the environment. The experts believe it is reasonable to conclude that the proposed facility will comply with the Texas Clean Air Act and that the permitting process will protect the local community and the environment.

The Port's leadership is pleased with the results of the review. Robby Burdge, Chairman of the Victoria County Navigation District, stated, "The mission of the Port is to expand economic opportunities and quality of life for our citizens while maintaining a commitment to the highest safety, environmental, and community standards. Now that this study has verified the facility's safety, we can look at the added benefits of jobs and community investment that this project will bring to our area. All indications are that Zinc Resources, LLC will be a great business partner for Victoria." Sean Stibich, Executive Director for the Port, echoed Burdge's statements saying, "This partnership is a huge win for our county. This facility will be safe and good for our community. We have been working hard at the Port to enhance our infrastructure, improve operations, and attract new industry to our region. We are excited to see our hard work paying off and look forward to pursuing this opportunity further."

At its meeting today, the District’s Commission authorized the continuation of the ongoing environmental due diligence evaluations and the negotiation of a potential lease agreement. In the coming weeks, it is anticipated that Zinc Resources, LLC will be finalizing the permitting process with TCEQ and applying for a tax abatement through the county.