Recently, Aurubis AG, a leading global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers worldwide, was honored with a visit from First Lady Jill Biden, at its new site in Augusta (Richmond County) in the U.S. state of Georgia. The company is investing around US$ 700 million to build the first secondary smelter for complex recycling materials in North America. Commissioning of the secondary smelter is planned for the second half of the coming year. An expansion of the plant is also already under construction, which will allow Aurubis Richmond to process a total of 180,000 tons of complex recycling materials, such as printed circuit boards and insulated copper cable, per year as of 2026.
Dr. Biden visited Aurubis Richmond as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda. Augusta is one of five focus regions – known as Workforce Hubs – where a large number of jobs for skilled workers are to be created as a result of significant federal and private-sector investments.
“It is truly an honor to have First Lady Jill Biden visit our Aurubis Richmond site. By building this state-of-the-art recycling plant, Aurubis is creating long-term, secure jobs for more than 200 people here in an industry that is strategically important to the US: The metals we return to circulation are essential to the mobility and energy transition and an important contribution to the electrical vehicle ecosystem – this also fits perfectly to Georgia’s Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliance initiative. The Workforce Hub initiative supports our commitment to training workers for the challenging tasks in our secondary smelter,” Aurubis’s Chief Operations Officer (COO) Multimetal Recycling Inge Hofkens said.
The multi-metal company has pledged to a community benefit agreement with the Technical Colleges in Augusta and Aiken (South Carolina) as well as with the Richmond County School System. As part of this agreement, Aurubis will invest more than US$ 200,000 in scholarships and job training programs for young workers over the next five years. The company also actively promotes women in the metal industry with its international Women4Metals initiative.
Georgia offers Aurubis ideal conditions for tapping the great growth potential of the U.S. recycling market. Increasing awareness for sustainability and a significant jump in collection volumes are generating roughly 6 million tons of recyclable, metal-bearing materials in the U.S. every year, a main driver for the investment decision of Aurubis. The goal is to establish a reliable and sustainable supply chain by returning more of these recycling materials to local cycles. Experts estimate that the recycling volume in North America will increase by an average of 5 % annually in the coming years.
“The pro-business climate and excellent infrastructure in Georgia – including logistics and a stable energy supply at competitive prices – provide Aurubis with perfect conditions for profitable growth. Thanks to the support of Georgia State officials, we continue to see opportunities for contributing our expertise and becoming a multi-metal recycling pioneer in the U.S”, Aurubis CEO Roland Harings emphasized. The Inflation Reduction Act offers great potential to even accelerate Aurubis’s future U.S. growth and investment, helping position the Southeast as a leading ecosystem for EV and multi-metal recycling. In addition to strategic investments in its European sites, Aurubis also recognizes great potential for further development in North America: “We are in a strong financial position as a company and ready to invest more in the U.S. in keeping with our ‘Metals for Progress: Driving Sustainable Growth’ strategy.”