Austria’s Brixlegg launches low-carbon copper, seeks premium

Credit: Montanwerke Brixlegg AG

Montanwerke Brixlegg AG aims to charge a premium for its copper, which has the lowest carbon footprint in the industry, an executive of the Austrian company said on Wednesday.

Brixlegg copper has very low emissions because it is made using recycled metal as feedstock and hydropower for energy, the firm said in a sustainability report published this week.

Other producers of low-carbon metals such as aluminium have struggled to get customers to pay premiums in the past, but this may change as companies are under more pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions, analysts say.

“We have just started to publish (carbon data), it is the kick-off for our new strategy,” Uwe Schmidt, chief commercial officer, told Reuters.

“We want to achieve higher premiums because we are setting a global benchmark. We are already where the others want to be in 10 or 15 years.”

Privately-held Montanwerke Brixlegg produces copper with 0.739 tonne of carbon dioxide per tonne of metal based on scope 1-3 emissions, it said.

That compares with the global average of 4.1 tonnes of CO2, according to the International Copper Association trade group.

Copper, the third most consumed industrial metal after iron and aluminium, is used in electric cabling, construction and increasingly in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Brixlegg, which has a 550-year heritage of metal smelting, plans to produce 153,000 tonnes of copper cathode this year and typically exports 80% of output.

Sweden’s Boliden last year launched two “green” copper products, one sourced from recycled electronic scrap, the other from reduced-emissions mining. Both are guaranteed to have less than 1.5 kg of CO2 per kg of metal.

Boliden said at the time it was getting only a small premium for its green products without specifying the amount.

(By Eric Onstad; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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