The European Commission (EC) has approved €26.7m ($29.44m) in financial support put forward by Spain to support Cobre Las Cruces’ (CLC) refinery upgrade project in Gerena, Sevilla.
Approved under the EU state aid rules, the scheme will help CLC in upgrading and extending the operational life of the refinery by 20 more years.
CLC’s mono-metallurgical refinery is currently equipped to exclusively extract and produce copper.
The refinery is due to be transformed into a poly-metallurgical refinery, which will have the capacity to extract and produce several metals including copper, zinc, lead and silver.
In a press statement, the EC said: “The new refinery will offer a more sustainable, efficient and lasting means to exploit and treat mineral concentrates from the Iberian Pyrite Belt, the geographical area with significant mining activity along the south of Portugal and Spain.
“The project is expected to generate benefits in terms of job creation, training and retention of skilled workforce.”
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This measure, which will be provided in two direct grants totalling €26.7m, is expected to support the EU’s strategic goals pertaining to the European Green Deal.
The commission said that the measure would support economic development and “competitiveness of a disadvantaged area”.
It is also expected to have a positive impact on employment in Gerena while having limited impact on competition and trade within the EU.
EC executive vice-president in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “This €26.7m measure enables Spain to support Cobre Las Cruces in transforming its refinery, allowing it to produce various key metals necessary for the transition to a decarbonised economy. The measure will also contribute to the development of the region while limiting possible distortions of competition.”