German metals supplier Aurubis is investing nearly $700m in a new secondary smelter for complex recycling materials in Richmond County, Georgia, US.

Considered to be the first such facility in North America, the smelter is expected to be commissioned in the second half of next year.

An expansion of the plant is already in progress, which will bring the Richmond facility’s total processing capacity to 180,000tpa of complex recycling materials such as printed circuit boards and insulated copper cable by 2026.

US First Lady Jill Biden visited the Aurubis Richmond, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.

Every year, the US generates nearly six million tonnes of recyclable, metal-bearing materials. Aurubis says that it has been the main driver behind the investment in the state.

The company aims to establish a reliable and sustainable supply chain, which can return more from recyclable materials.

As part of the investment, the company has committed to invest more than $200,000 in the local community in the form of scholarships and job training programmes for young workers in the coming five years.

Aurubis multimetal recycling chief operations officer Inge Hofkens said: “By building this state-of-the-art recycling plant, Aurubis is creating long-term, secure jobs for more than 200 people here in an industry that is strategically important to the US: The metals we return to circulation are essential to the mobility and energy transition and an important contribution to the electrical vehicle ecosystem – this also fits perfectly to Georgia’s Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliance initiative.”

Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said: “The pro-business climate and excellent infrastructure in Georgia – including logistics and a stable energy supply at competitive prices – provide Aurubis with perfect conditions for profitable growth.

“Thanks to the support of Georgia state officials, we continue to see opportunities for contributing our expertise and becoming a multi-metal recycling pioneer in the US.”