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Dutch steel recycler misses out on contaminated scrap

Two year after its launch, Netherlands-based Purified Metal Company (PMC) is in serious financial trouble because of a shortage of contaminated scrap. Some staff have been made redundant and the company will continue in a slimmed-down form.

PMC was opened in 2020 by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The factory processes steel scrap contaminated with Chromium-6 and asbestos. After processing, the scrap can be used in the fabrication of new steel.

Chromium-6 metal scrap does not have ‘hazardous’ status in the Netherlands so special processing is not required. As a result, PMC misses out on a lot of scrap. An additional problem is that since July last year the dumping of asbestos-containing steel in the Netherlands has been banned requiring separate processing. However, inadequate compliance means much asbestos scrap disappears through other channels.

PMC has challenged the Dutch Governmeent in court to list contaminated steel scrap as ‘dangerous’ to ensure the company gets more supplies.

EUR 70 million has been invested in the PMC factory, of which approximately EUR 50 million is government money. At its launch in 2020 PMC, expected to be profitable by 2021 with the workforce of 30 growing to 65 once the plant was at full capacity.

A former Soviet submarine that was dismantled and scrapped at the Janssen Recycling yard in Rotterdam was the first major demolition in which contaminated scrap was processed at PMC.

The company had plans to set up similar facilities at other locations around the world.

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