Australia's biggest e-waste recycling plant

Monday, 10 April, 2017


Metals business Nyrstar is upgrading its smelter in Port Pirie, South Australia, to a multimetals processing and recovery facility that will also provide the technology to process e-waste.

The company will soon accept a wide range of electronic products, such as PCBs, cathode ray tubes, mobile phones and related devices. It will also accept photovoltaic cells from roof solar panels, alkaline batteries and potentially other batteries such as lead acid and nickel cadmium.

“Featuring proven state-of-the-art technology available in Europe, Asia and North America, the site will be Australia’s first e-waste treatment facility, helping to reduce landfill and recover valuable metal to re-use in consumer products,” said Bertus de Villiers, Nyrstar vice president, metals refining.

“The treatment rate of e-waste from 2018 is expected to be around 3000 tonnes per annum, increasing to more than 20,000 tonnes per annum as the facility ramps up, with a recovery of 98% of metal content.”

The upgrade marks a milestone for Australian-generated e-waste, which is currently either landfilled or exported. In some cases, it can end up in countries without stringent environmental or health and safety regulations, leading to environmental contamination and hazards for workers recovering e-waste components.

“South Australia is the only state in Australia that has legislated to ban e-waste from landfill,” said SA Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter.

“Nyrstar’s expansion will improve the state’s waste processing infrastructure capacity and reinforce our leadership in waste management and resource recovery.

“It’s transforming its facility into a state-of-the art operation that will ensure material is recycled responsibly.”

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