Xstrata to boost Horne electronic scrap recycling

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Xstrata Copper said on Wednesday it plans to double the electronic scrap recycling capacity at its Horne smelter in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, to 100,000 tonnes a year by January 2010.

The expansion requires limited capital and does not pose any big technical hurdles or smelter flowsheet modifications said the unit of diversified miner Xstrata Plc.

The first phase of the expansion is expected in operation by January 2009, with the second phase completed by 2010. The project will focus on modifying receiving and sampling processes and make use of the plant’s existing smelting technology and capacity.

The smelter processes scrap from discarded electronic equipment to recover copper and precious metals that are then refined and used in new products.

There is growing demand for electronic scrap smelting capacity as the number of devices grows and electronic waste becomes an increasing environmental concern, the company said.

Xstrata Copper said it is the world’s No. 4 copper producer and its recycling business is the world’s biggest consumer of copper and precious metal-bearing electronic scrap.

Reporting by Susan Taylor, additional reporting by Mark Potter in London; editing by Rob Wilson