Metallurgy is a process of urban mining in which metals are filtered from sludge and recycled.
The Kempen has been known for years as the Silicon Valley of metallurgy, also called Flanders Metal Valley. About five sites in the Kempen specialize in extracting usable metals from scrap or other materials, also known as metallurgy. Metallo in Beerse, now called Aurubis, is one of these companies.
The more than 100-year-old recycling company Metallo in Beerse will get a brand new recycling plant by 2024 to recover even more valuable metals. The German parent company Aurubis is spending 27 million euros on the new plant in Beerse. Sludge is processed in this so-called ASPA plant. From that sludge the company extracts valuable metals such as gold, silver and tin.
By constantly optimizing the metallurgical process, more and more metals can be reused. The modern installations recover from the same sludge a larger quantity of metal in less time than before. This innovation is necessary because metal recycling is becoming increasingly complex: the amount of metal in objects such as smartphones and laptops has increased enormously, while the design of the products is becoming more complex.
This process of reusing old materials from the city is also called urban mining. This method ensures that fewer raw materials end up in landfills and at the same time provides an answer to the increasing demand for metals.