10/01/2022 – Multimetal recycling plant in Georgia/USA

Aurubis and SMS cooperate in construction

Aurubis and SMS signed a contract regarding the planning, delivery, and assembly of the main facilities for the new Aurubis plant in the US Construction of Aurubis Richmond to start in summer 2022, commissioning planned for first half of 2024.


Aurubis AG and the SMS group, based in Düsseldorf, signed a contract for the construction of a multimetal recycling plant in the United States. © SMS Group


Aurubis AG and the SMS group, based in Düsseldorf, signed a contract for the construction of a multimetal recycling plant in the United States. As Aurubis announced, construction of the new Aurubis recycling plant will start in mid-2022 in Augusta (Richmond County) in the state of Georgia. Upon commissioning (scheduled for the first half of 2024), the plant will process about 90,000t of complex recycling materials annually. Aurubis is creating over 100 jobs in the region as well.

With the agreement, the two companies start to work closely together on the greenfield project Aurubis Richmond, with the SMS group planning the facility concept, delivering it, and implementing it on site. Moreover, the SMS group is delivering the technology for the top-blown rotary converter (TBRC), a state-of-the-art piece of equipment for processing complex recycling materials to recover copper, nickel, tin, zinc, precious metals, and platinum group metals. The scope of delivery also includes the sampling and off-gas cleaning facilities. Both partners are contributing their expertise to the construction of the modern recycling site to optimally fulfill the requirements of a sustainable circular economy.

Aurubis and the SMS group also signed a cooperation agreement. With this long-term collaboration, both partners intend to be able to quickly implement the planning, construction, and development of additional modular recycling facilities in Europe and North America in the case of a positive investment decision from Aurubis. The construction of Aurubis Richmond is therefore the starting point of this partnership in the multimetal recycling sector – and the project’s success points the way ahead for both partners from a strategic perspective.

“With the investment in Aurubis Richmond, we reinforce our ambitions to continue expanding the recycling of complex, valuable metal-bearing materials and returning them to the material cycle. The SMS group is an extremely competent partner for the setup of the site, a partner that will support us in implementing custom-fit solutions for ecologically sustainable business activity and accelerated decarbonization,” emphasised Hans Rosenstock, Managing Director of Aurubis Richmond.

“We’re pleased to bring the state-of-the-art recycling plant in Richmond to life, together with Aurubis. In addition to technological expertise, we’re united as partners by our strategic orientation toward continued growth in the circular economy and the recycling business, as well as contributing to climate protection with new technologies. Furthermore, our intelligent and efficient digital concepts enable us to optimize the production processes. This modular facility sets new international benchmarks in recycling electronic scrap and is planned for additional sites as well,” said Michael Rzepczyk, member of the management at SMS.

Tapping a new market in multimetal recycling in the US

With the construction of Aurubis Richmond, Aurubis is tapping a market with strong growth potential and expanding its international integrated smelter network. The investment of about Euro 300 million also contributes to the company’s ambitious sustainability targets. The Group expects Aurubis Richmond to generate an annual contribution to earnings of about Euro 80 million EBITDA at full production capacity starting in fiscal year 2025/26.

In the first-ever secondary smelter for multimetal recycling in the United States, circuit boards, copper cable, and other recycling materials containing metals will be processed into 35,000t of blister copper annually. Aurubis will further process the intermediate products into various industrial and precious metals at its European smelter sites to a great extent, but also sell them directly in the US market.