Environmental protection at Beerse

Aurubis Beerse specializes in the recovery of non-ferrous metals from a variety of material streams.

The Beerse site is situated in the province of Antwerp in the North of Belgium and was founded in 1919 as ‘La Metallo-Chimique. As early as 1923, it was processing a wide variety of recycling materials ranging from end-of-life consumer products such as pots and pans to industrial residues such as factory tailings. In the 1960s, a process was developed to recycle copper, tin, and lead from more complex raw materials. In the last few decades, nickel and zinc were added to our range.

Today, the Beerse site excels in recycling and refining complex secondary raw materials into non-ferrous metals, metal products, and minerals. With about 460 employees, the site processes about 660 different kinds of recycling materials, serving a global supplier base of 500 companies in 56 countries. These recycling materials include metal-bearing residues like drosses and slags, but also copper scrap, alloys, and metallic shredder materials.

Recycling is crucial for a sustainable and circular society. Our zero-waste focus, in which we strive to convert all scrap materials into valuable input materials, makes Aurubis Beerse one of the global frontrunners in metal recycling. In order to provide answers for the increasing scarcity of natural resources and complexity of recycling materials, we have formed dedicated teams of experts in every step of the process. With in-depth knowledge of markets, metallurgy, quality analysis, pricing mechanisms, regulations and technologies, we are always a reliable partner for all of our stakeholders.

With innovative, environmentally friendly, high-performance facilities, we give new life to metals and minerals that in the hands of other companies might be lost to society as waste. We process these multimetal raw materials and bring them back into the value chain.

Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is regarded as a minimum requirement. By operating with specific, mostly custom-made, and high-performance technologies, we achieve exemplary success in environmental protection, while still focusing on further continuous improvement. In doing so, we always ensure that we minimize the risks for the health and safety of our workforce, as well as the impact on our climate.

The intensive work on continuous improvement is also reflected by the implementation of the best available techniques (BAT). This means our installations are operating at very high energy efficiency levels and we are setting standards by using advanced environmental technologies that already meet, or even exceed, the latest requirements. Constantly striving for excellence will push us to recover even more metals for progress within the Aurubis Group in the future and underline our important social role in processing complex raw materials.

Aurubis Beerse handles over 660 types of — mostly complex — recycling materials

For us, sustainability and economy go hand in hand. We build and continuously reinforce trust based on our conviction that corporate social responsibility is essential to our relationship with stakeholders worldwide.

Daily emission monitoring, including stack emissions, ambient air monitoring, workplace monitoring, and continuous testing and analysis ensure transparency in environmental protection and provide a reliable and safe working environment.

Environmentally sound copper and multimetal production with adjacent residential zones and next to a nature reserve recognized as Natura 2000-protected area requires efforts that go above and beyond legal regulations. Protecting the environment and the health of our neighbors and employees comes first and is the foundation for safeguarding the site’s future.

The neighboring Dessel-Schoten Canal with Aurubis Beerse in the distance

Because of its unique location, the Beerse site supports the preservation of biodiversity beyond environmental requirements. The presence of endangered species of frogs and salamanders in local ponds was confirmed in 2019. In the coming years, measures will be taken to rehabilitate their natural environment and return it to its natural state. For example, more space will be created for all kinds of animals and heather will be re-introduced to the area.

Environmental Protection Beerse - Facts & Figures
Air emissions

Over the last 15 years, a large number of technical and organizational measures have successfully reduced fugitive dust emissions. These reductions have contributed to a significant improvement in the emission values of heavy metals. One milestone of investments in environmental protection was the construction of a large state-of-the-art storage hall in 2008 that is dedicated to handling dusty materials.

Another example of large investments in this field is the replacement of one of the key filters in 2019. A strong focus on dust abatement systems and dust management has always been key for the site and is implemented in the action plan for reducing dust emissions. This plan is updated yearly and consists of many technical as well as organizational and employee awareness-related actions — but combining these measures is what led to a breakthrough.

Ambient air is monitored at a measuring station located in the immediate vicinity of the industrial site in accordance with European specifications.

For years, all emission values for cadmium, lead, nickel and arsenic have been met, in accordance with European regulations. In addition to our own ambient air emission measurements as part of an extensive dust reduction management system, the site takes further measures such as constantly keeping all yards and roads wet and focusing daily on preventing incidents on site.


The site’s wastewater is centralized. In the wastewater treatment plant, all water is treated in a physico-chemical purification process before it is discharged into the neighboring Dessel-Schoten Canal. A large part of the water used on site is reused, for instance in the iron silicate granulation process. The Beerse site has a permit for direct discharge into the canal and closely monitors the requirements.

The site’s water demand is covered by withdrawals of groundwater from groundwater wells and by using canal water using state-of-the art ultra-filtration technology. Water management projects, such as the optimization of our wastewater treatment plant, further reduce metal emissions to water. Additional measures will be defined to ensure continuous water protection through advanced water management over the next few years. Environmental analyses will be digitalized to further improve the quality control of the results obtained.


The Beerse site is located in an area zoned for industry that has expanded historically. Together with the supervisory waste authority (OVAM), extensive soil investigations were carried out, which identified historical soil pollution and the need for remediation of a few limited areas. Based on the soil investigation findings, a remediation plan with preventative and protective measures, coordinated with the responsible local authorities, was developed and approved by the authorities.

Investments in environmental protection measures

Investments in environmental protection have a high level of significance for us. Since 2012, Aurubis Beerse has invested more than € 20 million in measures for environmental protection. In 2014, the Beerse site invested in a new capturing scrubber plant to minimize SO2 emissions.

Investments in Envorinmental Protection (€)

Environmental protection measures & projects
Reduction of air emissions: Technology to reduce VOC emissions


Air emissions from the metallurgical refining process require intensive off-gas cleaning

Degree of implementation

  • Beerse will implement an activated carbon filtration (ACF) to reduce VOC emissions.


  • 2023: study of new technology (ACF)

    Q4 2024: startup ACF
Soil investigation program

BSP (BodemSaneringsProject or soil remediation project)

Degree of implementation

  • Soil remediation project under and around the old tankhouse


  • 2020-2021: Pilot testing
  • 2022: Selection of technique
  • Q4 2022: Submission of soil investigation program to authorities
  • Q4 2023: new data available resulting in a new
  • BSP program submitted to authorities
  • Q2 2025: start of remediation
Water management

Degree of implementation

  • Short-, medium-; and long-term water conservation initiatives were developed. The main focus is on improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Water re-use (Pilot project blue deal): The Blue Deal is a government initiative for protecting Flanders from drought


  • 2020: Start - projects have been defined, interaction points determined, and milestones defined. Preferred partner has been selected.
  • Q1 2024: Techniques for water re-use will be studied and selected.
Certificates Beerse
Karel Docker
Karel Docker

Health and Safety, Sustainability Director

Phone +32 14 609 429
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