Proposed battery recycler pulls permit request for Chester site, will refocus on Weirton

CHESTER — A company proposing to operate a battery recycling plant in Chester has withdrawn its request for an air quality permit in the community, and reportedly will instead return its focus to a previously discussed site in Weirton.

Mountaineer Metal Management had sought permits to operate a facility at 200 8th St. in Chester, within the Rock Springs Business Park.

Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of Northern Panhandle, explained Thursday John and Janet Patterson, who own MMM, notified officials Wednesday of the move, saying it was “based on an evaluation of their site logistics and building strengths.”

The BDC owns the Rock Springs Business Park, which was developed on the site of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor Pottery.

According to reports, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Division had decided to hold a public meeting on MMM’s permit requests.

According to Ford, “After careful consideration and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, (MMM) made a decision to remain at Weirton for this project.”

Ford said the move has no effect on prospects for Rock Springs, as “(it) was never not on the market.”

Prospects have been in the areas of supply chain logistics, value added metal and energy industries, he explained.

A public records check of the WVDEP website showed that the company had renewed its permits earlier this year for its primary site of the interest, which falls in Weirton at the former Jimmy Carey Stadium location. The deadline to request a public hearing is by 5 p.m. June 3.

Locally, public outcry has centered around previous reported violations by MMM, then known as Metal Conversion Technologies, over a series of alleged safety and environmental infractions in Georgia several years ago following three fires allegedly caused by improper disposal of hazardous waste.

The incidents reportedly led to a multi-phase remediation project at the Georgia facility.

Hancock County commissioners had no comment regarding the project’s prospect, Thursday afternoon. They directed all questions to the BDC.

(Staff writer Julie Riedel contributed to this report.)