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Xstrata Nickel boosts cobalt--nickel recycling production.

The new owners of Falconbridge will be inheriting a new Sudbury asset by next summer that's expected to boost their nickel and cobalt recycling business.

Construction began in September on a $21.4 million metal recycling plant at Xstrata Nickel's smelter complex that's expected to double the capacity of their existing recycling business.

In a Sept. 19 statement, Mike Romaniuk, vice-president of Sudbury operations, said the expansion allows the company to profitably take in a variety of feed stock and delivers a distinct competitive advantage in the metal recycling market.

"The demand for cobalt and nickel recycling has significantly increased in recent years due to high metal prices and rapid technological advances, and we will now be better able to meet this customer need."

Prior to the Xstrata takeover, Falcon-bridge already was one of the world's largest recyclers of electronic components and a major recycler in Sudbury, and among their global operations of secondary copper, nickel, gold, silver, platinium, palladium and lead. Xstrata Nickel spokesman Ian Hamilton says the company doesn't release input or production figures for competitive reasons.

The project was given approval late last fall by the previous Falconbridge management. It is scheduled for commissioning next July.

The plant will be operated and maintained by smelter workers within their Sudbury commodity business unit. About 15 to 20 contracted workers will be used during construction.

Hamilton says cobalt and nickel-bearing materials taken from recycled goods such as batteries from computer and cell phones are separated through a proprietary process with the valuable metals extracted and put into the smelting process as feed stock.

Hamilton says high metal prices has increased the cost of producing today's technology which has increased the need for companies to recycle more of their product. "There's a demand to provide this feed for recycling."

Xstrata has received all the necessary environment permits following a detailed engineering and pilot-testing phase completed in mid-June.

The company has been recycling cobalt and nickel-bearing materials at their Sudbury smelter since 1981.


Northern Ontario Business
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Author:Ross, Ian
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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