INTERVIEW - Aurubis to invest EUR 26m in environmental protection at Bulgarian plant
Aug 10, 2011 - By 2014 German copper producer Aurubis AG (ETR:NDA) is to invest more than EUR 26 million (USD 37.2m) to enhance environmental protection at its facility in central Bulgaria, as the company seeks to keep harmful emissions far below the limits set in the current European and Bulgarian legislation.
by Tsvetomira Tsanova
Near the end of June, Aurubis Bulgaria unveiled its new project "Aurubis Bulgaria 2014". As part of it, the company will pour EUR 44.2 million into the expansion and upgrade of its plant near the town of Pirdop. Roughly 60% of the amount will flow into environmental protection measures. "The aim (of the programme) is to remain competitive in the future," Nicolas Treand, executive director of Aurubis Bulgaria, told SeeNews in an interview.
Asked whether the company had plans to build any renewable energy installation at its site in Pirdop in the future, Treand replied that the green energy market was still not enough developed to meet Aurubis' needs and that the prices came too high.
At present Aurubis' plant in Bulgaria is in full compliance with European and local regulations in terms of environmental impact. Still, as Treand pointed, the trend on the continent is for environmental measures and requirements to become more stringent. As a result, the company is taking drastic measures to further trim harmful emissions from the copper production process.
One of the key points on the agenda is the installation of a new secondary gas cleaning system that will be unique to the global copper production sector, Treand said. The technology that the company has chosen does not produce byproducts such as gypsum and sulphuric acid. The EUR-26-million programme also envisages the construction of emission capturing facilities and a factory around the capture and purification of gases. The final commissioning of all new installations under the "Aurubis Bulgaria 2014" programme is scheduled for 2014.
The plant in Pirdop was privatised in 1997 by Belgian sector firm Union Miniere. Aurubis came as successor to Belgian copper group Cumerio, which was acquired by German Norddeutsche Affinerie in 2008. Currently, Aurubis Bulgaria has a staff of 780. The plant has an annual production capacity of 308,000 tonnes of anode copper, 221,000 tonnes of cathode copper and 1.02 million tonnes of sulphuric acid as a byproduct. The company exports its products mainly to the Balkan countries.