Press Release

"Aurubis Bulgaria" and the Spanish Atlantic Copper are hosts of the 16th International Flash Smelting Congress in the Copper Industry

Hamburg | Wednesday, October 4, 2023

  • More than 120 leading experts from around the world are gathering in Bulgaria and Spain this week, visiting the Aurubis plant in Srednоgorie on 3 October

Leading European copper mining companies Aurubis Bulgaria and Atlantic Copper - Spain, are hosting the 16th International Flash Smelting Congress (IFSC), organised by Metso - the Finnish creator of the technology. The event takes place in Bulgaria and Spain from 1 to 7 October 2023 and brings together over 120 leading experts from around the world.

On October 3, the delegates of the International Specialized Forum visited the Aurubis Bulgaria plant near Pirdop and Zlatitsa in the Srednogorie region to get acquainted with the implemented technologies, the production expansion program and the decarbonization strategy of the company.

It is a real privilege to welcome the world's most distinguished experts in this field to Bulgaria

, said Dr. Heiko Arnold, Chief Operating Officer of the Aurubis Group, who is in the country for the event.

Recycling and the circular economy are the main pillars of the future metals supply, but primary production will continue to be vital. The world needs a lot of copper for the green transition to succeed. High-level forums like this give us an excellent opportunity to exchange new ideas on the production of this key metal

, Arnold stressed.

During their visit to Aurubis Bulgaria, the experts toured the metallurgical production with the double casting wheel for anode copper installed this year and the refinery for refining copper to cathode by electrolysis. The cathode copper production capacity is to be expanded from 230 to 340,000 tonnes per year, an investment worth BGN 240 million, with all copper anodes produced in Pirdop to be refined locally.

Refined copper is Bulgaria's main export and a key raw material for the transition to a low-carbon economy, e-mobility and connectivity. The experts were also briefed on the decarbonisation strategy of Aurubis Bulgaria, which envisages a 50% reduction in direct and indirect emissions by 2030 with the phased construction of self-consumption RES and energy efficiency programmes.

The 16th International Flash Smelting Congress hosted by Bulgaria and Spain focuses on innovation in copper metallurgy, the circular economy, the energy transition and digitalization. The flash process (smelting of copper concentrates in a "flying state") is the most sustainable and efficient method available for the production of anodic copper applied worldwide. The first specialised congress in this field was held in Finland in 1972.

This forum provides a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the world to discuss the latest technological developments in copper metallurgy

, said Piia Karhu, Metso's President of Metals Business Area.

We are excited to be co-hosting with Aurubis Bulgaria and Atlantic Copper and are extremely happy to see the great interest in the event this year

, she added.

The 16th IFSC International Flash Smelting Congress continues at Atlantic Copper's plant in Huelva, Spain, where delegates will be from 4 to 7 October.

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Ivailo Georgiev
Ivailo Georgiev

Head of Sustainability and External Affairs

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