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Solvay to expand U.S. production capacity for copper solvent-extraction products

| By Mary Bailey

Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium) announced plans to expand capacity at its Mount Pleasant, Tennessee facility (US), in response to growing demand from mining operations for its ACORGA and ACORGA OPT copper solvent extraction (SX) products. The market for copper is expected to surge over the next decade, driven by growth in construction, infrastructure, manufacturing and automotive applications.

According to the International Energy Agency, clean energy technologies will account for around 45% of copper demand in 2040 vs. 24% in 2020. In particular, copper plays an important role across the electric vehicles (EV) value chain as it is used in batteries, motors, inverters, wiring and in the charging infrastructure. Per Fastmarkets MB, the steep adoption of electric vehicles, which contain on average four times more copper than a combustion engine car, will see global refined copper demand for EVs rise by 21% per year until 2030, reaching around 2.5 million tons in 2030.

“This expansion offers greater security of supply for our customers as demand for our products grows,” explains Matthew Davis, global business director, Mineral Processing and Metal Extraction Products at Solvay. “Solvay looks forward to helping our mining customers meet the need for copper in vital applications, including electric vehicles, which are critical to clean mobility and a net-zero future.”

Solvay’s reagents help customers in the mining industry improve productivity and reduce operating costs while meeting complex metallurgical and sustainability challenges, such as the need to reduce freshwater use, energy use and reagent consumption. The investment comes as the company’s SX business continues to expand in all regions, benefiting from strong market dynamics and a recent string of new mine successes.

Solvay expects the new capacity, which expands on existing assets, to be commissioned by the end of 2022.