Qualified industrial chemist and former councillor John Hill has proposed the conversion of Holcim's Cape Foulwind cement works into an eco industrial park in a pitch before Buller's District Council.

Lee Scanlon reported in the Westport News that, according to Mr Hill, the park would generate more jobs than Westport will lose when Holcim disuse their current site, and would result in a decrease in electricity prices for Buller.

Overseas company Veolia has expressed interest in the proposal, having been closely involved in similar operations in the United Kingdom.

Hill envisages the eco park making use of varied forms of waste in the production of energy, chemicals, biogas, bricks and building aggregates.


His plan involves the processing of 100,000 tonnes of solid waste per year, drawn for Canterbury, where it would otherwise end up in the Kate Valley Landfill.

The materials would be transported to Westport in empty coal trains, before being delivered to Cape Foulwind. Glass, metal, and other reusable wastes could all be separated out. The remaining 5 percent of residual waste would be the only material that ends up in a landfill.

Even waste that would normally be burned could be shredded and used as refuse derived fuel (RDF), an alternative to thermal coal. This could then be sold internationally or used for fuel electricity generation.

Hill says an eco industrial park would have huge benefits for the local economy, cutting the council's costs for sewage treatment, increasing council revenue from industrial activities and shipments, and generating $1.25 million a year from the consented landfill.

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