Developer promising odorless, zero-waste production at planned Ahtme plant ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Representative of the planned Ahtme plant meeting with municipal leaders.
Representative of the planned Ahtme plant meeting with municipal leaders. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Keith-Neal Saluveer, the owner of OÜ Corestone Production, a company developing an oil plant in Ahtme, is promising to establish odorless, zero-waste production at the future facility, regional Põhjarannik reports.

"Our goal is to eliminate Ahtme mine-waste tailings," Saluveer explained.

The planned oil plant would be located within the vicinity of Ahtme's spoil heap, which is currently shrinking due to OÜ Ahtme Killustik, a subsidiary of Corestone, producing crushed stone from the spoil. According to Saluveer, the production of crushed stone leaves behind valuable raw material that currently isn't being utilized.

"We want to use that too, and, based on the principles of circular economy, turn the waste into a new product," he said. "Attitudes toward recovery have taken a turn in this particular direction in recent years. For instance, the mining permit for the Uus-Kiviõli mine includes an obligation to reuse at least 40 percent of the spoil."

The planned Ahtme oil plant, essentially a re-processing complex, intends to use mining waste in full.

"There are 16 millions tons of material there," Saluveer highlighted. "Our primary product would be crushed limestone, the produced amount of which would be 10-12 million tons over the 10-12 years the plant is planned to operate. Next in terms of volume would be gravel with 2-3 tons, followed by some 680,000 tons of shale oil and 200,000 tons of ash. We know what the area of application is for gravel and shale oil; limestone powder and ash will be used in the production of construction materials and the liming of fields."

Asked about any possible odor-related issues in connection with the future plant, Saluveer noted that it would use over 20 times less raw material than [shale oil producer] Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG).

"Second, we will be using previously enriched oil shale, which will allow us to use the fast pyrolysis method, rendering the process much faster," he continued. "We have not made any of this up; all of these technologies are widely used. Our innovation is combining technologies used in different fields."

Saluveer said that production at the plant would not yield any odor, as everything that smells would be burned. In order to ensure that all gases are burned, an afterburner will be used, and the loading of oil will be conducted in a separate area under negative air pressure, Põhjarannik reported. The plant will not produce any waste, as all materials will be fully used. It will not entail any increase in noise levels compared with current gravel production, nor will it produce any additional dust.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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