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Riverkeeper fights air permit for plant that promises 125 jobs

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Savannah Riverkeeper submitted an argument against an air permit for a company that plans to open a plant here.

The $340 million metal recycling and secondary smelting facility by German company Aurubis promises 125 jobs.

Aurubis has filed an air permit request with Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division.

In the Savannah Riverkeeper’s public comment, the organization highlights Aurubis’ request to release what it calls “more than 30 hazardous pollutants into the air that the people of Augusta breathe.”

“The list includes things from arsenic to o-Xylene that, if permitted, would be released ‘in and around the facility,’” the Savannah Riverkeper said.

The American Lung Association’s “State of our Air” report has ranked Augusta 28th worst in the nation for year-round particulate pollution levels. The city moved up seven spots on that list in just a year.

The Savannah Riverkeeper said its research and advocacy unit uncovered a list of federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations filed against Aurubis.

“Those RCRA violations filed against Aurubis’ Buffalo, New York facility indicate that Aurubis’ handling of the toxic chemicals it uses and produces was unsafe, presenting a danger to the local community and Aurubis’ employees,” the Riverkeeper said Wednesday in a news release.

Aurubis will build its facility on 150 acres at Augusta Corporate Park.

Operations are expected to begin by the first half of 2024, and the company plans to begin hiring as soon as summer 2022. People interested in jobs with Aurubis are encouraged to visit www.aurubis.com/en/career/jobs.

With the investment, Aurubis will create more than 100 direct jobs in the region. Signing the...
With the investment, Aurubis will create more than 100 direct jobs in the region. Signing the memorandum of understanding on economic development are, from left: Pat Wilson of Georgia, and Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis AG.(WRDW)

Aurubis is a global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers worldwide. The company processes complex metal concentrates, scrap metals, organic and inorganic metal-bearing recycling materials, and industrial residues into metals.

The company produces more than 1 million tons of copper cathodes annually, and from them makes a variety of products such as wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles and flat rolled products.

Aurubis produces a number of other metals, as well, including precious metals, selenium, lead, nickel, tin and zinc. The portfolio also includes additional products such as sulfuric acid and iron silicate.

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