MAC: Mines and Communities

Chinese company says it's saving coal by recycling copper scrap

Published by MAC on 2010-09-14
Source: Interfax China

A Chinese company claims that its recycling technology could “save 283 kilograms of standard coal for every ton of copper rod produced when compared to traditional technology”.

Ganzhou Jiangwu exploring exciting new sector

By Xu Hong

Interfax China Metals & Mining

3 September 2010

The general manager of Jiangxi Province-based Ganzhou Jiangwu New Alloy Material Co. Ltd., Zhang Bingyan, talks to Interfax about how the company hopes to succeed in the emerging sector of metal products manufacture using scrap metal.

Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group Co. Ltd.'s (JXTC) decision to move into the scrap copper industry has paid off.

In 2008, the Jiangxi Province-based tungsten and rare earth producer joined up with Ganzhou State-owned Assets Management Co. Ltd. to establish Ganzhou Jiangwu New Alloy Material Co. Ltd., a company that uses scrap copper in the production of copper rods.

"Several years ago, JXTC focused primarily on the tungsten sector," Ganzhou Jiangwu's general manager, Zhang Bingyan, told Interfax. "Tungsten resources were becoming limited, however, and the company soon realized it needed to diversify," he said.

"We conducted a great deal of market research and became aware of the importance of green economies, hence the decision to focus on the use of scrap copper in copper rod production" Zhang added.

There are currently a number of companies in China that use scrap copper for copper rod and wire production, but the majority of these manufacture only low-end products.

Through the use of technology and equipment from Italy's Continuus-Properzi S.p.A and Spain's Corporacion Metalurgica Catalana S.L., however, Ganzhou Jiangwu has been able to produce high quality copper rods, and its has been officially recognized by the China Nonferrous Metals Institute Association (CNMIA) for its use of scrap copper.

Construction started at Ganzhou Jiangwu's facilities in October 2007, with production kicking off in October 2009. Zhang stated that the company generated a net profit of over RMB 30 million ($4.41 million) in 2009, adding that the company was lucky to have avoided the full impact of the global economic downturn as it was still at an early stage of development.

According to Zhang, the production technology Ganzhou Jiangwu uses can save 283 kilograms of standard coal for every ton of copper rod produced when compared to traditional technology.

The company also made a number of changes to the equipment in order to enhance production and keep costs down, modifying it so that components need not be imported from overseas.

The company produced over 20,000 tons of copper rod in 2009 and has a current annual production capacity of 120,000 tons. Anticipating strong market demand, however, Ganzhou Jiangwu hopes to expand this to 300,000 tons, and to begin production of copper wire in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"We maintain a positive outlook on the future of the industry," said Zhang. "The electricity sector will continue to grow as China becomes more industrialized."

He added that raw material supplies are likely to grow in the future. The company will also maintain its competitive edge through continuous adjustments to products to further improve their quality.

"People may think the purer the copper, the higher the quality," Zhang told Interfax. He explained, however, that Ganzhou Jiangwu has been testing the addition of other elements to the copper rods, such as the use of rare earth metals to enhance electrical conductivity.

"Laboratory testing has been successful, but we have yet to start commercial production," said Zhang.

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