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German copper producer Aurubis to invest in new recycling facility in Belgium


Facility will process anode sludge from German recycling sites

ASPA process will enable faster extraction of precious metals

Aurubis, the largest copper recycler in the world and a leading integrated copper group, is to invest Eur 27 million ($32 million) in the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling facility at its Beerse site in Belgium, the company said July 28.

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The Germany-headquartered company said the ASPA (Advanced Sludge Processing by Aurubis) facility will process anode sludge from the recycling sites in Beerse and Lünen in Germany. Anode sludge is an intermediate product from electrolytic copper refining.

"The new process will enable faster extraction of more precious metals, such as gold and silver, as well as tin from the anode sludge," the company said in a statement.

The company said engineering and approval processes for ASPA were currently underway, while the construction of the facility is planned to begin in the second quarter of 2022, with commissioning for early 2024.

Aurubis said the metal recycling plant in Beerse processes about 250,000 mt of multi-metal scrap annually, ranging from complex residues to higher-grade scrap types, and produces metals, metal products and minerals from them.

"With ASPA, our production in Beerse is becoming faster, more efficient, and with less valuable metal loss," Aurubis COO Heiko Arnold said.

"The new facility is also a prime example of the synergies created by the acquisition of Metallo and how the whole company benefits in developing new innovative solutions together. ASPA uses the in-house recycling know-how of the Beerse plant and grafts it into the processes of other Aurubis plants," Arnold said.

Since taking over the Metallo Group in 2020 for Eur 380 million, Aurubis has processed around 1 million mt/year of recycling materials.