Environmental protection at Berango

Since the acquisition of Metallo Group in May 2020, the Berango site is part of the Aurubis group. It specializes in the recovery of non-ferrous metals from a variety of material streams.

The site is situated in Berango, in the province of Biscay, close to Bilbao. With about 90 employees, the site focuses on complex recycling materials to produce black copper, solder, and minerals. Berango site, formerly called Elmet, was founded in 1991. Today, the site is a frontrunner in terms of sustainability in the wider area of the entire Basque country. Building on over 100 years of experience, the company serves an established base of international business partners and contributes to strengthening the circular economy.

Sustainability and economics go hand in hand. Environmental protection as well as health and safety are essential in all our processes. All employees are trained on environmental protection in a systematic manner to support the employees’ environmental awareness. Our management team ensures that all environmental aspects are considered in each process and fully integrated into the operational management. Thus, continuous improvement of our product and process designs are in line with our measures to secure environmental protection.

Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is regarded as a minimum requirement. Audits and inspections are conducted on a regular basis and take appropriate action to continuously improve environmental protection, safety, and sustainability of all operations. This is also reflected in certifications such as the environmental management system ISO 14001 (since 1999). All production processes are controlled based on the environmental management system, incorporating occupational health and safety requirements. The objectives and indicators of follow-up actions, changes affecting the management system, status of preventive and corrective actions, performed risk assessments, as well as information on resources and possible improvements, form the basis of the management follow-up.

By operating with specific, mostly custom-made, and high-performing technologies, we attain successful achievements in environmental protection. The intensive work on continuous improvement is also reflected by the implementation of best available techniques (BAT). Compliance with the requirements of the BAT conclusions were established and verified by the Basque Government authorities in conjunction with the new environmental permit.
By operating at the highest energy efficiency levels, we are setting standards by using advanced technologies that already meet the new requirements or even exceed them. 

Environmental protection Berango – facts & figures
Air emissions

A strong focus on dust abatement systems and dust management has always been key for the site. Since 2015, a number of projects and measures for further reduction of fugitive emissions were implemented  as part of an effectiveness management system. The identification and evaluation of emission sources as well as emission reduction measures were defined in the process. This program includes for example the improvement of the parameterization of the drying plant for sludge.

Biodiversity

Running an environmentally sound multi-metal production surrounded by mountains and next to the nature reserve Ría de Mundaka-Cabo de Ogoño Marine Area (~ 3.5 km north) as well as Ría del Barbadun (~ 10 km southwest) poses an environmental challenge. It requires efforts that go beyond legal stipulations because protecting the environment and the health of our neighbors and employees is particularly important to us. For example, trees have been planted around the factory to make the area more environmentally friendly and more sustainable.

Noise

The noise of all production plants at the Berango site complies with the environmental permit instructions for the production plants. In order to further reduce noise emission, an action plan with noise reduction measures was developed and implemented. The action plan is based on the noise register in 2017, which was set up in coordination with the responsible monitoring authorities.

Water

The site’s water demand is covered by withdrawals from a groundwater source. All of the site’s wastewater is centralized and is composed of rainwater and process wastewater. The rainwater is collected on-site and treated together with process wastewater in the wastewater treatment plant. One measure to keep metal emissions to water to a minimum is the optimization of physico-chemical wastewater treatment (e.g., use of biodegradable ingredients) in 2020.

Investments in measures for environmental protection

Investments in measures for environmental protection have a high level of significance for us. Since 2012, we have invested more than € 7 million in measures for environmental protection. The main investments have been made for measures to reduce fugitive emissions, noise, and the amount of water use on site. The most recent investments in measures for environmental protection were made for example for the installation of the Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) until the end of 2020 (see also “Measures & projects” below).

Measures & projects
Short-term reduction of CO emissions and improvement of VOC control

Degree of implementation/Date/Next steps:

  • Installation of Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) by the end of 2020
  • VOC online measurement device will be introduced at the end of 2020

Status:

  • Start of operation: November 2020
  • Was commissioned by the end of 2020
Fugitive emissions: improvement of the enclosure of the plants and dust capture

Degree of implementation/Date/Next steps:

  • Enclosure of dust hall in the south-east of the site
  • Usage of special ceramic inliners in the dust transmission piping

Status:

  • Ongoing
  • Partly already in operation for a test phase
Water management

Degree of implementation/Date/Next steps:

  • Optimization of the physico-chemical treatment of the water treatment plant

Status:

  • The new measures for improvement and new ingredients are being tested
Contact
Silvia Corulla
Silvia Corulla

Sustainable Development Department

Phone +34 946689113
Send e-mail