Aurubis, a non-ferrous metals provider, has broken ground on around €33m hydrometallurgical recycling plant ASPA (Advanced Sludge Processing by Aurubis) at its Beerse site in Belgium.

The facility is slated to be commissioned in the fiscal year 2024/25.

It is expected to boost the company’s position as a sustainable integrated smelter network worldwide.

This facility will process anode sludge, which is considered an important intermediate product from electrolytic copper refining generated at the company’s recycling facilities in Beerse and Lünen, Germany.

The new process is expected to allow quicker extraction of more precious metals such as gold and silver while enabling complete recovery of tin from the anode sludge.

Aurubis COO Dr Heiko Arnold said: “Metal recycling is a growth area for Aurubis. This is how we significantly contribute to the circular economy. Our metals are the foundation for the urgently needed progress in the green energy transition, electric mobility, and an increasingly digitalised world.

“ASPA demonstrates our clear commitment to our long-term strategy to strengthen and secure our core business and to take the lead in sustainability in our industry.”

Aurubis Beerse managing director Dr Dirk Vandenberghe said: “By systematically connecting the European sites with ASPA and optimising the intermediate material flows, Aurubis is creating synergies in the Group.

“Our local know-how and expertise directly enrich society as well: We are creating new jobs in the Flanders region with our investment in the recycling sector.”

The Aurubis Beerse plant annually processes about 250,000t of multimetal scrap.

This scrap ranges from complex residues to higher-grade scraps, from which metals, metal products, and minerals are generated.

Following the acquisition of the locations in Beerse and Berango, Spain, about two years ago, Aurubis has further bolstered its role as a copper recycler and currently processes over 1 million tonnes of recycling materials annually.