The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is promoting industrial waste recycling in Turkey with a US$ 20 million loan to Befesa Silvermet İskenderun Çelik Tozu Geri Dönüşümü A.Ş., a company which operates a steel dust recycling plant in the south-eastern city of Iskenderun.
At the plant the company is extracting zinc from electric arc furnace dust, a hazardous waste generated by steel producers that needs to be recycled or disposed of in specialised landfills. The company uses highly efficient Waelz technology to transform electric arc furnace dust into secondary zinc, also known as Waelz oxide (WOX).
The final product is then sold to the world’s leading zinc smelters, shifting the zinc industry from mining to recycling. The EBRD’s financing will double the plant’s capacity for electric arc furnace dust treatment to 110,000 tonnes per year. The investment supports a profitable solution for recycling zinc from steel dust instead of producing it from limited natural resources. It also helps reduce the amount of hazardous waste sent to landfills in one of the three main steel-making regions of Turkey.
Turkey is the eighth-largest steel producer in the world and the fifth-largest producer of electric arc furnace dust. Frederic Lucenet, EBRD Director for Manufacturing and Services, said: “By producing from industrial waste a high-value product for which there is worldwide demand, Befesa Silvermet is transforming trash into treasure.
“The EBRD is pleased to be financing this exemplary solution as part of its efforts to advance sustainable waste management and promote a circular economy in Turkey and elsewhere. “The Iskenderun plant has the potential to become a showcase for exporting the company’s recycling model to other steel-making countries where the EBRD invests.”
Befesa Silvermet İskenderun is owned by a joint venture between Spain’s Befesa Zinc S.A.U., a leading recycler of steel waste in Europe, and Canada’s Silvermet Inc., active in steel dust recycling in Turkey. Asier Zarraonandia Ayo, Director and CEO of Befesa Zinc, said: “Coming to Turkey was our strategic decision. We see great potential, believe in the country and are happy to bring the best available steel dust recycling technology to the Turkish market.”
Stephen G. Roman, Chairman, President and CEO of Silvermet, commented: “The $25 million expansion will allow us to double recycling capacity, increasing the production of zinc concentrate to over 50,000,000 pounds of contained zinc per year. The upgraded facility will use state-of-the-art environmental technology and will boost profits.”
The EBRD loan to Befesa Silvermet İskenderun is part of the Bank’s new Green Economy Transition approach, which will increase the level of EBRD financing in the sphere of sustainable resources to some €18 billion over the next five years. The EBRD started investing in Turkey in 2009 and currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep.
To date, the EBRD has invested over €6.8 billion in Turkey through 170 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. It has also mobilised about €16 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. In 2015 the EBRD expects to invest over €1.7 billion in Turkey, its top financing destination.