Aurubis AG, Europe’s largest copper producer, on Friday said that floods had stopped production at its Stolberg copper products plant in Germany.
Force majeure has been declared on deliveries from the plant which was hit by floods on Wednesday evening, it said.
No employees were hurt in the flooding and Aurubis expects the financial losses from the flooding and lost production will be covered by insurance, an Aurubis spokesperson said.
Torrential rain in western Germany this week caused over 80 deaths in flooding after swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Aurubis Stolberg plant is in North Rhine-Westphalia near Aachen and produces about 35,000 tonnes of copper products annually.
“The surrounding access roads and the entire downtown area nearby were flooded, in some cases washed away, and strongly impacted overall,” Aurubis said. “An initial damage assessment clearly indicates that the flooding has permanently affected the entire company premises and that restarting operations will require considerable efforts.”
About 400 employees produce high-precision strip and wire for industrial applications at the Stolberg plant including electrical, electronics, automotive and engineering customers for sale on the global market.
It is not possible to say when the plant will reopen, Aurubis said.
“The impacts of the severe weather on our plant in Stolberg are a shock to all of us,” said Aurubis CEO Roland Harings in a statement. “We are very relieved that all of the employees are safe, and we express our thanks to those who are actively helping on site. We will do everything to rebuild the plant and to restart production as fast as possible.”
Another Aurubis group plant in Stolberg, Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk is not affected by the flooding because the site is located on higher land.
(By Michael Hogan; Editing by Louise Heavens)