The Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (President: Akira Takeuchi; Capital: 119.4 billion yen) announced today that its Metals company has expanded the Naoshima Smelter and Refinery to create the world's top-ranked E-Scrap receiving and processing capacity amounting to approximately 110,000 tons per year (an annual increase of 30,000 tons over current capacity). This was achieved via a nearly 5 billion yen investment in receiving sampling, analyzing and processing equipment enhancements. The receiving and processing equipment upgrades are slated for completion in April 2016.
Discarded circuit boards from home appliances, personal computers, cellular and smartphones, communications servers and other digital devices are commonly referred to as E-Scrap and contain a high concentration of gold, silver, copper, palladium and other valuable metals. This is the source for a new supply of valuable smelting materials, which in recent years has been gaining attention as an urban mine.
Furthermore, amid growing environmental concerns, the amount of E-Scrap recovered is expected to increase in line with the higher recycling rates of home appliances and other items.
Regarding the expanding E-Scrap market, the Naoshima Smelter and Refinery, taking advantage of the Mitsubishi Process for continuous copper smelting, a unique technology for smelting precious metals with the lowest environmental impact in the industry, has been promoting the expansion of E-Scrap receiving and processing for some time. These recent upgrades expanded E-Scrap processing to nearly 80,000 tons per year in fiscal year ended March 31, 2015 compared to approximately 30,000 tons per year in fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.
Additionally, we commenced operation of an online reservation system in May 2014 to process E-Scrap receiving more rapidly aiming for further increase of processing volumes. In June 2014, we established a new department for E-Scrap recycling at Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. Corporation among other efforts to build and enhance a solid receiving structure in the U.S.
The Metals company will attempt to further increase the amount of E-Scrap received and processed through the upgrades at the Naoshima Smelter and Refinery.
Under Mitsubishi Materials Group's corporate philosophy of “For People, Society and the Earth”, we aim to become “the world's leading business group committed to supporting recycling-oriented society through materials innovation, with use of our unique and distinctive technologies”, as part of our long-term management policies focused on the early 2020's. We are pursuing a company-wide growth strategy based on the Materials Premium 2016 medium-term management plan, which calls for “Fortifying the foundation for growth”, “Strengthening global competitiveness”, and “Pursuing a recycling-based business model”.
Based on Materials Premium 2016, the Metals company intends to cultivate E-Scrap processing as one of the pillars of profitability, and aims to attain the top global share in E-Scrap processing combined with the Group's Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd..
The Metals company will continue to contribute to the development of a sustainable society through the collection and recycling of valuable metals in accordance with company-wide growth strategies based on the long-term management policies of the Mitsubishi Materials Group.
Note: Mitsubishi Process for continuous copper smelting
In this process, smelting furnaces, slag cleaning furnaces and converting furnaces are connected by enclosed launders, continuously producing blister copper from concentrates. This results in a facility that is compact, conserves energy and operates at a low cost.
The Mitsubishi Process prevents sulfurous acid gas leaks, creating zero-emission processing plants with non-polluting systems that process efficiently unlike conventional processes, in which movement between the furnaces results in the unavoidable leak of sulfurous acid gas.