Kemp comes to Augusta for groundbreaking of recycling plant

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:53 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Shovels were in the dirt and boots were on the ground Friday for a new metal recycling plant in south Augusta.

Gov. Brian Kemp was there for the groundbreaking.

Brought by German company Aurubis, the new plant is supposed to bring 125 jobs to the area and will be the first of its kind in the U.S.

But the plans aren’t moving forward without resistance from the Savannah Riverkeeper.

The organization says 100 jobs are not worth the pollution the plant will put in our air.

“Just like the work ethic of Georgians, Aurubis’ success in our state will also persist to the benefit of all,” Kemp said during the ceremony Friday.

In addition to the governor, state Sens. Max Burns and Mark Newton and six Augusta Commission members were there.

The $320 million price tag it as Germany’s all-time largest investment in Georgia.

“The fact that Augusta is going to be at the forefront of this type of recycling technology, I think it speaks loudly for what Augusta can bring to the global market,” Augusta Commission member Brandon Garrett said.

Aurubis’ CEO emphasized the facility would be the first of its kind in the U.S., bringing 125 jobs.

He also spoke of how “green” the plant would be.

“We believe we are running, today in Europe, the most sustainable and environmentally friendly smelting network in the world,” said CEO Roland Harings.

The Savannah Riverkeeper, however, says the facility would only add to the air pollution.

The organization says Aurubis is requesting an air permit to emit 30-plus pollutants.

Despite that, Kemp says:

“We are excited about this project.”

Operations for the plant are expected to begin by the first half of 2024 and planning to begin hiring this summer.

A chair is ready for the governor in a tent set up for the groundbreaking at the Aurubis plant...
A chair is ready for the governor in a tent set up for the groundbreaking at the Aurubis plant site in Augusta.(WRDW)

From Augusta, the company plans to produce materials found in lithium-ion batteries and other electronics.

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.

This is a rendering of the planned Aurubis facility in Augusta.
This is a rendering of the planned Aurubis facility in Augusta.(WRDW)

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