AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A German company will build a $347 million (300 million euro) smelter in Georgia to recycle copper, hiring 125 workers.
Hamburg-based Aurubis AG announced the plans Wednesday, saying construction on the smelter in Augusta will start next year, with the plant beginning operations in 2024.
Aurubis said much copper is now being sent from the United States to Asia for recycling and it makes business sense to recycle material locally.
"The need for modern, sustainable, local processing capacities is very strong," Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said in a statement. “Today, these aren’t at all sufficient to cover the high demand, so large volumes of valuable feed materials have to be exported.”
Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson called it “one of the largest German investments in our state.”
Company spokesperson Meino Hauschildt said the plant will recycle circuit boards, copper cable and other materials including nickel, tin, zinc, gold, silver and platinum.
The company said it expects up to 6.6 million tons (6 million metric tons) of metal-bearing materials to be collected for recycling in the U.S. in coming years, with the amount of materials growing 5% annually.
Aurubis said the smelter supports environmental goals by reducing the need for new copper to be mined and will also allow the company to recover other materials that are combined with the copper. Hauschildt said the smelter will be powered with electricity and natural gas. He said the plant would be designed to “the latest environmental standards” with water reused. He said dust and air emissions will be “low.”
The company said it expects the plant add about $93 million (80 million euros) to its profits before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization beginning in its 2025-2026 fiscal year.
Aurubis could claim various state tax breaks, including an income tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $4,000 per job from state income taxes, up to $2.5 million over five years, as long as workers make at least $28,000 a year.
The state will pay for job training. Company officials said on a conference call Wednesday that they also expect to receive property tax abatements and aid with infrastructure.