Environmental protection at Beerse

Since the acquisition of Metallo Group in May 2020, the Beerse site is part of the Aurubis group. It specializes in the recovery of non-ferrous metals from a variety of material streams.

The 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. The last few decades, nickel and zinc were added to our arsenal. 

Today, the Beerse site excels in recycling and refining of 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 players 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 output, makes Aurubis Beerse one of the global frontrunners in metal recycling. In order to provide answers to 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 installations, 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 multi-metallic raw materials and bring them back into the value chain. 

Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is regarded as a minimum requirement. By operating specific, mostly custom-made, and high performing mitigation techniques, we attain successful achievements in environmental protection, while still focusing on further continuous improvement. In doing so, we always ensure that we minimize the risks towards 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 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 the new requirements or even exceed them. This process of constant striving for excellence will push us to recover even more metals for progress within the Aurubis Group in the future and underline the important social role we have in processing complex raw materials. 

Metallo handles over 660 types of - mostly complex - recycling materials

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

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 multi-metal production with adjacent residential zones and next to a nature reserve recognized as Natura 2000-protected area requires efforts that go beyond legal stipulations. Protecting the environment and the health of our neighbors and employees is the foundation for safeguarding the site’s continuity, its future. 

The neighboring Dessel-Schoten Canal with Metallo Belgium in the distance

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

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 situation 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, as continuously improving our immissions continues to be a company priority.  

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 complied with 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 avoiding 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 from groundwater via groundwater wells and by using canal water following 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 within 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 a historically used and further expanded industrial area. 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. On the basis of the soil investigation, 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.

Measures and projects
Reducing air emissions: Carbon monoxide (CO) reduction technology


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

Implementation level:

  • Beerse site has investigated a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) as well as a next-generation afterburner technology. It was decided to install an RTO. Preparation of the project and permit application are ongoing. 


  • 2020-2021: study of CO reduction technologies


    Mid 2023: Permit application 

Soil investigation program

BSP (BodemSaneringsProject or soil remediation project) 

Implementation level:

  • Soil remediation project in the area of the old tankhouse  


  • 2020-2021: Pilot testing 
  • 2022: Choice of technique  
  • Q4 2022: Submission of soil investigation program to authorities 
  • Q4 2023: Start of remediation 
Water management

Implementation level:

  • Short-, medium-; and long-term water conservation initiatives were developed.  

  • The main focus is on improvement of the wastewater treatment plant. 


  • 2020: Start - projects have been defined, interaction points were determined and milestones defined. Preferred partner has been chosen. 

  • FY22/23: Techniques will be studied and selected.  

Certificates Beerse
Hild Van de Mierop
Hild Van de Mierop

Environmental Manager

Phone +32 14 609 462
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