Environmental Protection at Lünen

The Lünen site is Aurubis AG’s recycling center. With a production capacity of about 250,000 t of copper cathodes per year, the plant, which is just one kilometer away from Lünen Town Hall, is the world’s largest secondary copper smelter.

Recyclable raw materials are almost exclusively used in the smelting units in Lünen, including traditional recyclable raw materials such as copper scrap and other scrap, slimes, and residues, as well as increasing quantities of complex materials, in particular electrical and electronic scrap.

Improvements and investments in environmental protection also have high priority in Lünen. Around € 123 million has been invested in environmental protection since 2000. The emission reduction concept agreed on with the relevant governmental authorities for the period from 2005 to 2009 was initially estimated at about € 10 million, for example, but was then expanded with additional measures after the fact with further capital expenditure of € 25 million.

In order to reduce water consumption, a facility for rainwater retention, treatment, and utilization was commissioned with a total investment volume of about € 4.5 million in 2014. In 2019, more than 100,000 m³ of treated water was used for internal purposes in this way.

The Lünen plant premises are just a few kilometers from multiple nature conservation (Natura 2000) areas. Respecting and promoting biodiversity is therefore a top priority. Apart from observing impacts of larger expansion projects on biodiversity, measures are actively taken to promote and maintain biodiversity in smaller projects and in the neighborhood. These include planting greenery in unused plant areas and setting up nesting sites on buildings and chimneys.

The environmental management system at the Lünen site has been certified in accordance with EMAS and ISO 14001 since 1997. Together with the ISO 9001-certified quality management, it forms the IMS (integrated management system), which has also included an energy management system pursuant to ISO 50001 since 2013. The external audits carried out as part of the certification of the management system include a review of the environmental data, of the fulfillment of legal provisions, and of the effectiveness of the operating processes.

You can find detailed environmental information for the Lünen site in the current Environmental Statement.


Environmental Protection - facts & figures

Dust emissions per ton of copper output have been reduced by about 76 % since 2000.


Energy consumption per ton of copper output has been reduced by about 20 % since 2000.

Copper emissions per ton of input material have been reduced by about 84 % since 2000.

Environmental Protection Measures & Projects

Next steps:

  • Analysis of the emission effects after closing the smelter hall and possibly closing the KRS roof ventilation



  • The detailed engineering plan indicated additional improvement options that are still being incorporated in the project. A central filter on the roof doesn’t seem to be the most efficient solution. Instead, suction processes should be accelerated on all working platforms. However, a complete closure still doesn’t appear to be necessary.

Next steps:

  • Separate treatment of sanitation water



  • Details are currently being coordinated for environmental remediation with the responsible governmental authorities. The applications for approval should be submitted in 2018

Next steps:

  • Developing an assessment basis that takes the following aspects into account:
    » Form of energy
    » Raw material structures
    » Raw material availability
    » Price volatility



  • The Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs) have been evaluated as meaningful on the whole. There is no assessment standard for the overall process with regard to energy efficiency.

Next steps:

  • Heat utilization and water quality have to be optimized to enhance performance


  • Concepts are being developed. Projects are taken into account in the capital expenditure budget.


  • Public disclosuret
  • Preparation of a new hazardous substances register


  • The documents are available on the Internet, the visitor and contractor instructions have been revised together with the occupational safety department. A general guideline on the conduct and clothing regulations for external persons in the individual plant sections is to follow.
  • The updated notification to the authorities after the new StörfallVO was issued in 2017. The hazardous substances register will be entered into a new EHS software, which has already been procured at the AG level and will be used at the Hamburg site.


Next steps:

  • Profit improvement projects and Project Organization


  • The AOS system (continuous improvement of procedures and processes) is to be brought together with the IMS in a superordinate department for management systems in order to better coordinate and harmonize measures.



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