International Copper Association (ICA) member Aurubis is expanding its international operations and building a new recycling plant in the United States. This will be the first secondary smelter for multimetal recycling in the country and an important step toward increasing metals recycling in North America.
“With this investment, we’re setting a clear example of sustainable growth and will become a forerunner for multimetal recycling in the U.S. as well – a role that we already have in Europe.” – Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis AG
The Recycling Plant
Plant construction will begin in the summer of 2022 in Augusta, Georgia, with commissioning in the first half of 2024. Aurubis is investing € 300 million (~$341 million) in the project to expand its recycling business, the single largest investment by a German company in Georgia. The plant is expected to create at least 100 direct jobs in the area.
Aurubis estimates the plant will be able to process approximately 90,000 tonnes of materials every year. These include complex electronic components, such as copper cables and circuit boards. These materials will be processed into 35,000 tonnes of blister copper or unrefined copper produced from the smelting process. Augusta’s local infrastructure and proximity to ports allow Aurubis to further transfer and process intermediate products at its European smelter sites into other industrial and precious metals. These materials can also be directly sold to the U.S. market.
Contribution to a Circular Economy
Aurubis’ longstanding commitment to the circular economy and its recycling business are closely tied to its dedication to sustainability. Aurubis aims for its production to be carbon neutral well before 2050. These ambitions are in alignment with the Paris Agreement goals. Aurubis already processes about one million tonnes of recycling material a year. By creating its own integrated smelter network, Aurubis is conserving resources and making recycling a driver of the company’s growth.
In North America, sustainability continues to grow in importance, leading to an increase in collection volumes of recycling materials in recent years. Aurubis estimates approximately six million tonnes of recyclable metal material are processed in North America annually, and its experts expect that volume to increase by an average of five percent annually. Currently, most of these materials are exported from North America to Asia for reprocessing.
As a 100 percent recyclable material, copper is an enabler of the circular economy. Copper’s role in the green energy transition and uses in energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy generation, building decarbonization and electric vehicles make circular recycling processes more critical than ever before. Aurubis’ responsible stewardship of this essential resource through their new plant is a step toward meeting demand and to developing greater metal recycling capabilities in the U.S. to support sustainable-development goals.
We’re implementing our strategic agenda with the new site and proving once again that we can outstandingly combine profitable growth and sustainable business activity. The need for modern, sustainable, local processing capacities is very strong. … With the new capacities, we’re in a strong starting position at the right time and are receiving enthusiastic local support due to the investment’s sustainability aspects…” – Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis AG
About Aurubis AG
Aurubis AG is a leading global provider of nonferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers worldwide. The company processes complex metal concentrates, scrap metals, organic and inorganic metal-bearing recycling materials, and industrial residues into metals of the highest quality. Aurubis manufactures more than one million tonnes of copper cathodes annually, which are used to produce wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles, and flat rolled products. Aurubis produces a number of other metals as well, including precious metals, selenium, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc. The portfolio also includes additional products such as sulfuric acid and iron silicate.
About the International Copper Association
The International Copper Association (ICA) brings together the global copper industry to develop and defend markets for copper and make a positive contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICA has offices in three primary regions: Asia, Europe and North America. ICA and its Copper Alliance® partners are active in more than 60 countries worldwide.