With the hope of earning $250,000 a year, the Davis Burn Plant is going into the scrap metal business.

The Davis County Solid Waste Management and Energy Recovery Special Service District board has approved the purchase of an adapted backhoe and electromagnet attachment that will extract scrap metal from ash produced by the burn plant. Rassmussen Equipment Co. of West Valley City was awarded the bid of $147,000 to provide the equipment."We believe we have got a gold mine in our bottom ash," Jim Young, district manager, said.

He said that metal extracted could be sold to scrap metal buyers for between $45 and $50 a ton. However, Nucor Steel in Plymouth, Box Elder County, has said that it would be willing to pay up to $75 a ton for the metal. The district is negotiating a deal with the steel company to both buy and transport scrap metal.

Young said that the burn plant's metal will be worth more because it is sanitized and cleaned through the burning process. Trash put into the trash-to-energy plant is reduced to about 90 percent of its volume and then buried at the nearby landfill. Presently, only large metal objects have been salvaged by a private contractor.

Sale of the metal would help pay for the extraction equipment during its first year of operation.