December 2023 | Aurubis AG, a global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers, has announced significant investments totaling €330 million at its Hamburg site.
The Supervisory Board has approved two projects: a €300 million investment in a new Precious Metals Refinery (PMR) and an additional €30 million for the expansion of the Reducing Diffuse Emissions (RDE) system for environmental protection in primary copper production. These investments bring Aurubis’ total project pipeline at the Hamburg plant to €750 million.
Elevating Security and Efficiency
The PMR, expected to be operational by the end of 2026, will establish an integrated high-security area for processing precious metals. Leading to higher efficiency and a 15% reduction in operating costs, the project emphasizes enhanced security, occupational safety, and innovative process technology, .
This expansion significantly increases Aurubis’ production capacity in precious metals, contributing to its growth strategy.
Reducing diffuse emissions
An € 85 million filter system in primary copper production has been reducing diffuse emissions at the Aurubis Hamburg site since 2021. The project involved closing roof openings on the building housing the primary smelter and connecting them to a new, high-performance filter system.
The system suctions off and cleans diffuse emissions, or dust, then redirects residual quantities to the production cycle, and has already lowered the diffuse emissions discharged from primary copper production by 40%. According to Azubis, the new expansion stage will double the system’s efficiency to 80%.
“By endorsing these comprehensive investment projects at its most recent meeting, the Supervisory Board affirmed its support for the Aurubis growth strategy and for strengthening our core business,” Aurubis CEO Roland Harings explained. “We are making an important contribution to sustainable, environmentally friendly, and innovative metal production with these projects.”
Flagship Projects for Comprehensive Investment
The Hamburg plant’s total investment includes several flagship projects. The first involves a €100 million initiative to increase the extraction of carbon-free industrial heat, potentially preventing up to 100,000 tons of CO2 annually. With a €190 million investment, the Complex Recycling Hamburg (CRH) project will expand recycling capacity. Furthermore, the implementation of new anode furnaces in spring 2024 will enable hydrogen usage, contributing to carbon neutrality.
Additionally, a €95 million investment for the largest routine maintenance shutdown in the plant’s history is planned for spring.
The company is actively investing in its core business, recycling activities, environmental protection, and plant security. The projects are designed with security enhancements, incorporating lessons from recent criminal activities against Aurubis.
Furthermore, the Supervisory Board approved an increase in the investment volume for the construction of the Aurubis Richmond plant in the US to €740 million.
The company is also expanding its solar park at the Bulgarian plant, investing nearly €15 million to nearly double its output, adding 18 MWp. Once complete, the solar park will generate approximately 55,000 MWh of electricity annually, covering over 10% of the Bulgarian plant’s needs and preventing around 28,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The expansion is expected to be operational by mid-2025.