Aurubis AG, a leading global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers worldwide, is investing around € 46 million in improving slag processing at its site in Bulgaria. Full commissioning is planned for 2026, and the multimetal supplier anticipates an additional contribution to earnings in the mid-single-digit million euro range from increased metal yield starting in fiscal year 2026/27.
First and foremost though, the project represents an important contribution to environmental conservation: In the future, cooling of slags will no longer take place in pits, but in over 200 slag pots instead. The current cooling process is an approved method in the industry. With the new slag processing approach, Aurubis is again going above and beyond current ecological standards.
By optimizing slag processing, we are considerably reducing the fugitive emissions generated by the previous method. This investment represents a key contribution to achieving our ambitious sustainability targets. At the same time, it highlights our dedication to continuously improving our approach to mitigating climate change and protecting the environment,” Aurubis COO Custom Smelting & Products Dr. Heiko Arnold said.
The new process is also a step forward in occupational safety. In addition to benefiting the environment, the new method also improves metal yield by reducing copper loss in the slag.
This slag processing technique enables us to recover an even higher proportion of copper from the slag and keep it in the production loop,” CEO and Vice President of Aurubis Bulgaria Tim Kurth said. “Once fully online, we’ll be able to recover roughly 500 t more copper a year – generating value from the raw materials responsibly and with even more resource efficiency.”
The environmental project in Bulgaria is aligned with Aurubis’ strategic sustainability targets to consistently minimize the impact of production on the environment and the climate. Ongoing investment is essential here. Since 2000, the company has invested more than € 830 million in preserving the environment, such as with the RDE (Reducing Diffuse Emissions) project at the Hamburg site. By 2030, Aurubis aims to reduce specific dust emissions by an additional 15 % Group-wide compared to 2018.
This unwavering focus on sustainability is also paying off for the climate: Aurubis produces a number of metals with less than half the average CO2 emissions of its global competitors. The carbon footprint for the main product, copper cathodes, has decreased by 36 % since 2013. The figures for tin are even better, where Aurubis is 76 % below the global average. The company is targeting carbon-neutral production well before 2050.