Aurubis chooses to double the capacity of its Georgia plant

An equipment and technology contract signed by Aurubis AG, based in Hamburg, Germany, provides further details on the metal production and recycling company’s intention to double the initially announced capacity of its copper refinery. fed from the scrapyard of Richmond, Georgia.

Late last year, Aurubis announced that it was planning additional capital expenditures for 2023, including a plan to double capacity at the Georgia facility.

Today, Aurubis announced an equipment and technology supply contract with Germany-based SMS Group GmbH for what it calls a second plant module at its recycling plant in Richmond, Georgia.

“The additional equipment will increase the capacity of the Richmond Metals Recycling Plant, currently under construction, from 90,000 tonnes of complex metal scrap to 180,000 tonnes per year,” the company says.

“With the next stage of expansion at our new Georgia site, we are delivering on our strategy of ‘Driving Sustainable Growth’ while retaining mineral feedstocks that are both strategically important and in high demand in the resource cycle,” says Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis. .

The company says the modular SMS technology it is acquiring “enables flexible operations and rapid growth in [the] dynamic recycling market in the United States.

Aurubis describes SMS technology as comprising a top-blown rotary converter (TBRC), which it calls “state-of-the-art equipment used for processing complex recycling materials so that raw materials like copper, nickel, tin, precious metals and platinum group metals can be recovered in additional downstream steps.

“By combining SMS Group’s extensive plant know-how with Aurubis’ unique processing and raw material expertise, we are creating an enabling environment for highly efficient metal recovery,” says Harings. “This partnership allows us to take advantage of the enormous potential of the American recycling market.”

SMS Executive Committee Member Michael Rzepczyk comments, “We are delighted that our plants are helping Aurubis take a leading role in multimetal recycling in the United States. With the planned doubling of production volume at the new US site, Aurubis is taking recycling to the next level in the US”

Thanks to the modularity of the technology, Aurubis says additional components can be added, expanding the Richmond plant “to precisely meet any future requirements”. Harings adds, “The modular system means we can plan a prudent market strategy that allows us to respond flexibly to US needs, so Aurubis will benefit from the continued growth of the US market.

Aurubis is now pricing “approximately” 640 million euros ($692 million) for the two phases of the project. He calls the facility “the first secondary smelter specializing in multimetal recycling in the United States, making a focused investment in expanding its recycling business.”

In a 2022 interview with Recycling Today, Harings said that when the Richmond plant was to have an annual capacity of 90,000 tons, it intended to accommodate 90,000 metric tons of circuit boards, copper cables and other recyclable materials containing metal to produce 35,000 metric tons of blister. copper every year. Presumably, these two figures could now double when the plant is operating at full capacity.

Aurubis says the first stage of the plant is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2024. The contract signed at the end of March with SMS refers to an expected start of production of the second stage in the course of 2026.


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