Environmental Protection at Olen

Olen plant is one of the four copper production sites of Aurubis and specializes in the production of cathodes, Aurubis Rod, Aurubis Foxrod and Aurubis Bars & Profiles.

During the past several years, the site has successfully increased its input of recycling materials which poses high challenges to the treatment of air emissions, leading to extensive measures.

Since 2000 about 16,5 million € has been invested in environmental protection. In addition to reducing air emissions, the focus in 2017 has been on reducing water emissions as well. To lower the influence of effluents on the natural reserve Olens Broek, a new effluent pipeline was taken into operation at the end of 2015.

To improve resource efficiency, some products and production waste are processed at other Aurubis sites. This enhance the recovery of more valuable metals and limits landfilling.

In 2016, four 200 meter high wind turbines were built and commissioned at the Olen plant. This 20 million € investment project is a cooperation with a partner from the energy sector and two industry companies including Aurubis. Every unit has a capacity of 3.5 megawatt (14 megawatt in total). These wind turbines yearly provide 28 million kWh of electricity which is directly used at the sites of the industry project partners and reduces the CO2-emissions by 12,768 ton per year.

In the second half of 2021, a completely new hydro-metallurgical production process for the treatment of more complex input materials will start up at the Olen plant. A combined environmental and building permit for this major extension was applied for and successfully issued in 2018. This project will broaden the input materials at the site and represents an important milestone for the plant by setting the scene for a successful future.

The introduction the management system in accordance to ISO 14001 started at the rod production plant in 1998. Since 2006, the environmental management system for all activities of Aurubis Belgium  is ISO 14001-certified. The latest recertification and switch to the latest requirements of the standard were successfully concluded in 2017. 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. The quality management system is also certified according to ISO 9001.

Environmental Protection Olen - facts & figures

The metal emissions to water per ton of copper output have been reduced by 91 % since 2004.

Metals in water emissions have been reduced over the years by optimization of the pH in the successive reactors of the waste water treatment plant and focus on tackling internal sources of pollutant emissions.



The energy consumption per ton of copper output have been reduced by 12 % since 2000.

Further implementation of feasible and cost-effective energy reduction measures are planned in the frame of an agreement with the Flemish Authorities.


The dust emissions to per ton of copper output have been reduced by 87 % since 2000.

Dust emissions to air are levelling off. By adaption of the off-gas system of the Contimelt installation as a whole and the filtering equipment specifically, further improvements are pursued.

Environmental Protection Measures & Projects

Next steps:

  • Successful transition audits in October 2017. Renewal of ISO 14001-certificate completed by Lloyd’s audits in May and June 2018



  • Implemented

Next Steps:

  • Assessment of diffuse emissions situation will be conducted, including an action plan for the reduction of diffuse emissions. Further reduction of organic compound in (stack) emissions planned



  • Ongoing

Next steps:

  • Further reduction of contaminants emitted to water on department/installation level (before end treatment at the WWTP).



  • Ongoing

Aurubis would like to offer you the best possible service. To do this, we store information about your visit in so-called cookies. You can find detailed information about the use of cookies on this website under “Show details.” You can check or uncheck the options in the following selection bar to choose which of the different cookies you want to accept. However, you cannot deselect necessary cookies. By clicking OK, you agree to the use of cookies.

Show details

Necessary cookies help to make a website usable by enabling basic functions such as page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Necessary Cookies

Name of Cookie Function Storage period

cookie-popup /

Stores whether (functional) cookies have been accepted. 24 months from setting / update

functional-cookies /

Stores whether (optional) cookies have been accepted. 24 months from setting / update


Amazon AWS: Used when distributing user requests to the servers.

Until the end of the session


Preference cookies enable a website to remember information that affects the way a website behaves or looks. This information includes e.g. B. Your preferred language or the region you are in.


Name of Cookie Function Storage period


Google Analytics: Used to differentiate between users and sessions

24 months from setting / update


Google Analytics: Used to determine new sessions & visits. Is updated every time data is sent to Google Analytics.

30 minutes from setting / update


Google Analytics: In the past, this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether the user was in a new session/visit.

Until the end of the session


Google Analytics: Stores where the user reached the page from.

6 months from setting / update


Google Analytics: Used to limit the request rate.

10 Minutes


Cookies are small text files that websites use to make users’ experience more efficient, to provide certain functions, or to enable certain analyses. This site uses different types of cookies . Some cookies are placed by third parties that appear on our sites. We have no technical influence on cookies placed by third parties.