Lafarge Canada Inc. has reached an agreement with Nova Scotia’s Resource Recovery Fund Board for a supply of tires that would be burned at its cement plant in nearby Brookfield.
But before the proposal can go ahead, Lafarge must get environmental approval from the Nova Scotia government.
The Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia announced the deal on Friday, saying the use of scrap tires as an alternate fuel source is an environmentally sustainable way of dealing with waste.
``Recovering the energy from scrap tires will reduce Lafarge’s use of coal as a primary fuel and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions,’’ said Bill Ring, chief executive officer of the board, which manages waste programs in the province.
``When you consider the big picture, using tires as a fuel supplement in cement kilns is an environmentally sound process that will result in net benefits to the people of Nova Scotia.’’
The proposal was chosen over two others, which would have turned the tires into agricultural mats.
If the proposal gets the green light, Lafarge would handle about 900,000 tires a year at its plant in Brookfield and at another site in Quebec.
It plans to feed them into kilns for use as fuel, which it says is more environmentally sound than reliance on coal.
About 60 per cent of the waste tires collected in Nova Scotia would be burned in Brookfield. The rest would be transported to Quebec, the board said.
Two weeks ago, demonstrators donned gas masks and stood on the steps of the Nova Scotia legislature to protest against the proposal.
Environmentalists say incinerating tires in a cement kiln releases dioxins that have been linked to cancer.
But Lafarge, whose plan to burn tires in Ontario has set off a high-profile appeal there, has insisted it’s a safe way to create energy.
The province does not currently burn its tires. They are shipped out of the province, primarily to Quebec, where they are burned in cement kilns or recycled.
The government has already commissioned an independent scientific study on tire burning from Dalhousie University.
The company has burned tires at its plant in Saint-Constant, Que., for years.