Heraeus Precious Metals completes third major expansion in Wartburg/Tennessee

Wartburg / Tennessee, 12th October 2023

  • New state-of-the-art technologies significantly expand capabilities to meet growing demand for complex recycling of hard-to-recover precious metals

Heraeus Precious Metals, a leader in precious metals recycling, trading and products, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with government dignitaries and customers to celebrate the third and largest expansion of its Wartburg, Tennessee facility. The mid-eight-figure multi-million-dollar expansion is the company’s largest investment in its U.S. operations. The growth will also create between 40 and 50 additional jobs, making Heraeus Precious Metals the largest private employer in Morgan County, Tennessee.

The expansion project, which began construction in 2022, adds 45,000 square feet to the recycling facility, bringing its total size to over 206,000 square feet. The new space will enable the company to significantly expand its precious metals recycling, processing and recovery capacity.

The capital equipment investments include state-of-the-art smelter, which will enable the recovery of all precious metals for customers. These expanded recycling capabilities are designed to meet the growing demand from customers worldwide whose industrial by-products and waste streams contain precious metals in lower concentrations.

Wartburg smelter ribbon cut

According to Uve Kupka, President of Heraeus Precious Metals North America, Wartburg’s enhanced capabilities enable the facility to efficiently and economically process, separate and recover precious metals from low-concentration materials. He said, “With our technology investment in Wartburg and our global reputation in precious metals recycling, we can help our customers unlock and recover even more value.”

In order to meet the global demand of precious metals, both primary as well as recycled material is necessary. However, the carbon footprint of recycled precious metals is significantly lower compared to primary material. Heraeus Precious Metals is committed to continuously keep precious metals in the loop and promote a circular economy. In line with the company’s commitment to sustainability the smelter will run exclusively on renewable energy. Additionally:

  • In 2022, the Wartburg facility switched to 100% green energy provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
  • The company began installation of a 1.4 gigawatt (GWh) solar system this month.
  • The facility is also electrifying processes that were previously powered using natural gas; for the ongoing year, Heraeus has been able to reduce the natural gas consumption per pound of processed material by 19% at Wartburg.

During his remarks at the ceremony, Andre Christl, CEO of Heraeus Precious Metals, emphasized, “We understand our sustainability efforts as a great opportunity to expand our business while being the most sustainable and responsible leader in the industry. By 2025, Heraeus Precious Metals will be the first company in the industry to be carbon-neutral for its own operations.”

Established in 2004, the Heraeus Wartburg plant is a treatment and storage facility for both hazardous and non-hazardous materials containing precious metals. In addition to this most recent expansion, the company completed significant operational additions in both 2014 and 2018. Uve Kupka added, “For nearly 20 years, our Wartburg facility has been a story of innovation, growth and success. We could not have accomplished it without the support and cooperation we received from Wartburg, Morgan County and Tennessee Economic and Community Development officials.”