In the modern world, we produce large quantities of electronic devices and home appliances that have outlived their useful life span, and those quantities continue to increase. With that in mind, the EU has made it mandatory for the manufacturers to cover the cost of recovering and recycling waste electronic devices and home appliances, in accordance with the WEEE Directive*. There are only a limited number of companies however that have sufficiently advanced smelting and refining technology and equipment to recycle such large quantities of E-scrap efficiently, safely and in an environmentally friendly manner. In some countries, companies simply can't process waste fast enough.
In addition to the smelting and refining technologies the Mitsubishi Materials Group has built up over more than a century, for copper and other nonferrous metals, we have a wealth of expertise in recycling and continue to actively recycle resources such as precious metals.
Making the most of our high-level operational expertise and the "Mitsubishi Process", a unique continuous copper smelting and converting process developed exclusively by Mitsubishi Materials, we have continued to strengthen our global collection framework, and improve our intake and processing capabilities from a long-term perspective. We have also continued to develop and enhance online systems.
In April 2016, we upgraded facilities at our Naoshima Smelter & Refinery. Combined with group company Onahama Smelting & Refining Co., Ltd., we are now able to take in and process E-scrap on a world-leading scale of approximately 140,000 tons annually.
As well as establishing a recycling division in North America in 2014, we are planning to complete work on a collection facility in the Netherlands in 2017, handling activities such as intake, inspection and sampling of E-scrap as part of a global processing framework.
* The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was set out by the EU in order to promote recycling of waste from electronic devices and electrical products.
We intend to build on the technical capabilities and expertise we have developed through our recycling operations, to become a leading player in the field of resource recycling and make a real contribution to global sustainability.
Resource recycling is well established as a global trend. The cross-border movement of information and goods is not only demanded by a sound economic approach. It requires a huge amount of effort to secure the necessary resources to supply the metal resources that people need. As natural resources contain lots of unwanted materials, they also require processing, so that environmentally regulated substances can be adequately separated out. Recovering resources from waste products meanwhile makes a significant difference in terms of saving energy and ensuring the stable management of environmentally regulated substances, as well as recycling and reusing resources.
Mitsubishi Materials has kept a close eye on this trend from an early stage, and has continued to actively recycle nonferrous metals. That is largely down to the outstanding continuous copper smelting and converting process developed by the company ahead of its competitors worldwide. Raw materials from E-scrap are different from natural resources however, in that there are obviously limits to the amount that can be handled using conventional processes. It is important to have collection systems around the world, and to establish pre-treatment technologies for smelting and refining. Fortunately, that is one of Mitsubishi Materials' strengths. Combining collection systems with smelting and refining technologies in this way is the key to successful recycling resources from E-scrap on an international scale. I have high hopes that Mitsubishi Materials will continue to make a real difference in the future, as a leading global company in this field.