Befesa produces SHG solely from recycled zinc; to reach capacity in 2023

Luxembourg-based recycler Befesa’s facility in Mooresboro, North Carolina, is the first in the world to manufacture special high-grade (SHG) zinc solely from recycled zinc

Kobus de Wet, vice president and general manager of Befesa zinc metal, made this announcement on November 15 at the International Zinc Association (IZA) conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Mooresboro facility produces 120,000 short tons (108,862 tonnes) per year of SHG zinc and expects to reach nameplate capacity of 155,000 tons in 2023.

The facility also produces continuous galvanizing grade zinc and gypsum from waelz oxide.

There are three other facilities in the world — in Italy, Japan and Namibia — that also produce SHG zinc from recycled zinc; however, these facilities also use zinc ore in their production.

The achievement took longer than expected, de Wet explained: a number of unfortunate events, including technical problems, bankruptcy, a major fire and the Covid pandemic, hampered the process.

The first zinc was produced at the plant on April 28, 2019, the same day that a fire destroyed a considerable portion of the cell house. The cell house was rebuilt, and start-up was planned for February 2020 — “a month before Covid [pandemic] hit,” de Wet said.

At that time, the Mooresboro facility was owned by American Zinc Products (AZP), a subsidiary of American Zinc Recycling, which itself was bought by Befesa in August 2021.

Befesa closed the acquisition of AZP on September 30, 2022, telling its suppliers that the company intended to “continue operations at the AZP Mooresboro, [North Carolina] facility with zero interruptions to production and the receipt of goods and services.”

Befesa is the largest recycler of electric-arc furnace (EAF) dust globally, with operations in Europe, Asia, and the US.

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