From the early days on Elbstrasse to the innovative and sustainable metallurgical solutions that set Aurubis apart today. The history of a company that continues to reinvent itself to meet the challenges of the time.

A comprehensive look back at the history of Aurubis is available here:
1770 — Commissioning the silver separating and smelting furnace

Marcus Salomon Beit is granted a permit to operate a "silver separating and smelting furnace" on Elbstrasse in Hamburg, laying the groundwork for what will be become Aurubis.

1787 — Gold- und Silberscheider company

Marcus Salomon Beit now runs the business with his brother Raphael Salomon under the name Gold- und Silberscheider.

1824 — A new metal extraction process — refining

Raphael Salomon Beit introduces a wet process for separating gold and silver with the help of sulfuric acid. The new process is called "refining". The new metal extraction process allows the company to grow into a "combined copper-lead-precious metals smelting plant" in the years that follow

1846 — Elbkupferwerk founded

The son of Raphael Salomon Beit, Lipmann Raphael, and Hamburg shipowner Johann Cesar Godeffroy join forces with merchant Siegmund Robinow to found the Elbkupferwerk on the Elbe River island of Steinwerder to process copper ores from overseas.

1857 — The Elbhütten-Affinir- und Handelsgesellschaft

The Elbkupferwerk on Steinwerder and L.R. Beit & Co. on Elbstrasse merge to become the Elbhüttenwerk-Affinir- und Handelsgesellschaft.

1866 — Norddeutsche Affinerie AG founded

The Norddeutsche Affinerie AG is founded with Dr. Ferdinand Beit serving as chairman.

1876 — First fully continuous copper electrolysis system

Dr. Emil Wohlwill, the company’s chief chemical engineer, invents the first fully continuous copper electrolysis system.

1908 — Groundbreaking on Peute

Due to limited space at the Elbstrasse site, construction starts on a new plant on the Elbe River island of Peute.

1909 — Relocation to Peute begins

All plants relocated to Peute. The old main plant on Elbstrasse is subsequently demolished.

1910 — First major stockholders invest

Metallbank in Frankfurt, Metallurgische Gesellschaft, and Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt vormals Roessler AG (Degussa) become major shareholders.

1944 — War shuts production down

During World War II, air attacks severely damage the plant. Production is largely shut down until the end of the war. More information about the company during World War II is available here in our company history book.

1948 — Production resumes

Production is quickly resumed once the war is over. All major plants are up and running again, including the gold, silver and bismuth tankhouses.

1949 — Acquisition of Pflanzenschutz Urania GmbH

Aquisition of Pflanzenschutz Urania GmbH.

1966 — 100th anniversary

The company celebrates its 100th  anniversary.

1974 — Acquisition of Retorte GmbH

Acquisition of all shares of Retorte Ulrich Scharrer GmbH in Röthenback/Pegnitz, a manufacturer of selenium products for the glass and feed industries.

1975 — Joint venture with Codelco

Joint venture with Chilean copper producer Codelco and Hüttenwerke Kayser (HK) from Lünen results in the founding of Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH in Emmerich on the Rhine River.

1998 — Norddeutsche Affinerie AG IPO

Norddeutsche Affinerie AG goes public with an issue price of 25 Deutschmarks.

2000 — Acquisition of Hüttenwerke Kayser AG

Acquisition of Hüttenwerke Kayser AG in Lünen, a processor of residues from industrial production containing silver, copper and tin.

2002 — Acquisition of Prymetall GmbH & Co. KG

Acquisition of Prymetall GmbH & Co. KG, a manufacturer of rolled and drawn products made of copper and copper alloys, along with its 50 % stake in Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG in Stolberg.

2008 — Acquisition of copper producer Cumerio

Acquisition of Belgian copper producer Cumerio. The smelter in Pirdop (BG), the refinery in Olen (BE), the wire rod production plants at Olen and Avellino (IT), and the specialty profiles production at Yverdon-les-Bains (CH) are all incorporated into the Group.

2009 — Group renamed Aurubis AG

Name changes to Aurubis AG. The Group is no longer a North German refinery, since it now owns sites in five European countries.

2011 — Acquisition of British Luvata Group

Acquisition of the rolled products division (RPD) of British Luvata Group: production sites in Buffalo (US), Finspång (SE), Pori (FI), and Zutphen (NL), and slitting centers in Birmingham (GB), Dolný Kubín (SL), and Mortara (IT). The Buffalo site is the first step towards international expansion outside of Europe.

2016 — 150th anniversary

Aurubis AG celebrates its 150th anniversary.

2018 — Acquisition of Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH
  • Complete acquisition of Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH in Emmerich.
2018 — Industrial Heat project launched
  • The largest industrial heat project in Germany starts at the Hamburg site in cooperation with energy service provider enercity: carbon-free industrial heat for Hamburg homes from a sub-process of copper production.

2020 — Acquisition of the Metallo Group

The Belgian-Spanish Metallo Group is acquired with sites in Beerse (BE) and Berango (ES). A meaningful continuation of the growth strategy by strengthening the recycling portfolio.

2021 — Reducing Diffuse Emissions (RDE) in Hamburg

A new, innovative plant system with extremely fine filters and state-of-the-art plant technology for Reducing Diffuse Emissions (RDE) is commissioned in primary copper production at the Hamburg site.

2021 — Solar park in Pirdop

On the path to decarbonization: Groundbreaking for the largest captive solar park at the Pirdop site in Bulgaria as part of the strategic target of achieving climate-neutral production.

2021 — Test series for producing copper anodes with hydrogen

Producing copper anodes with hydrogen: An industrial-scale test series starts at the Hamburg plant.

2021 — Strategic realignment of the Group

The company strategy is realigned with the objective of focusing the core business on primary copper production, recycling and the multimetal portfolio. 

More information about our company strategy is available here.

2022 — Partial sale of Flat Rolled Products segment

Partial sale of Flat Rolled Products (FRP) segment in alignment with the new company strategy. The sale applies to the Zutphen plant and the Birmingham, Dolný Kubín, and Mortara slitting centers.

2022 — Expertise in the growth area of battery recycling expands

Aurubis builds a battery recycling pilot plant at the Hamburg site to process black mass from lithium-ion batteries.

2022 — Construction starts for a new recycling plant in Georgia (US)

Groundbreaking and construction start for a new recycling plant in Richmond County, Georgia (US). Aurubis’ first greenfield project outside of Europe and the first multimetal recycling plant in the US.

2022 — Construction of a new recycling plant at the Beerse site (Belgium)

Groundbreaking for a new recycling plant at the Beerse site in Belgium: The state-of-the-art hydrometallurgical ASPA (Advanced Sludge Processing by Aurubis) plant will lead to faster extraction of precious metals such as gold and silver and an increased recovery of tin from anode sludge.

2022 — First use of blue ammonia in copper rod production

Test series on the use of blue ammonia in copper rod production starts at the Hamburg site. First delivery of blue, low-carbon ammonia from the United Arab Emirates.

2023 — Groundbreaking for a new recycling plant at the Olen site (Belgium)

Groundbreaking for a new recycling plant at the Olen site in Belgium to enhance recycling capacity: In the state-of-the-art, energy-efficient BOB (Bleed treatment Olen Beerse) plant, the key industrial metals nickel and copper will be recovered from the electrolyte stream (bleed). 

Silke Splithöfer
Silke Splithöfer

Corporate Communications

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