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Umicore investment to boost recycling potential

Belgium – Materials technology company Umicore is proposing to invest around Euro 25 million at its Olen site in Belgium, notably on an upgrade of its cobalt refining and recycling plant. The project will enable an increase in cobalt production as well as in the company’s ability to recycle cobalt and nickel-bearing residues.

‘The upgrade fits perfectly with Umicore’s strategy of securing supply for the growth of its Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit as well as for the cobalt and nickel activities in Cobalt & Specialty Materials,’ it says in a statement. The plan also incorporates efficiency measures to improve the competitiveness of the Olen plant.

‘It is foreseen that by 2020 the site should be able to operate with 70 fewer people than it does today,’ the company says. ‘Such a reduction could be achieved over the coming five years by not replacing retiring employees and therefore without the need for any lay-offs.’

Jan Vliegen, senior vice president of Cobalt & Specialty Materials and site manager of the Olen plant, adds: ‘We need to do all we can to ensure that Olen remains competitive in a challenging global market.’

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