Nyrstar Belgium produces half of its zinc with green energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43%

Wednesday February 17, 2021

Balen, February 17th 2021 - Nyrstar's renewable energy strategy is taking significant shape: since January 2021, the zinc smelter in Belgium has been purchasing 50% of its electricity as green electricity, reducing indirect (Scope 2) greenhouse gas emissions from the site by 43%. On a sunny day, the zinc plant is already almost fully fed with electricity generated by the Kristal Solar Park, Benelux's largest solar park in which Nyrstar participates.

In our country, Nyrstar has sites in Balen and Pelt, and is number one zinc smelting plant in Europe in terms of energy efficiency.

And there is more on Nyrstar's radar. As a major industrial company, it wants to help Belgium accelerate the shift to renewable energy. Guido Janssen, Nyrstar 's Vice President European Operations: "Several decades ago for our Belgium operations we switched to a production process that is more than 90% electrified. Compare it to an electric car that emits no CO 2. We have now taken another important step transitioning to 50% of the electricity we use being produced from renewable sources.

This will lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the energy that Nyrstar Balen uses. In addition, we’ve been investigating various techniques to reduce the remaining CO 2 emissions for some time. We’re also looking at projects that will accelerate the energy transition to low and zero-carbon sources in Belgium."

Nyrstar's parent company Trafigura announced earlier this year that it would invest up to 30 million euros in a lithium-ion battery energy storage system at the Nyrstar site in Balen. This will contribute to keeping the Belgian electricity grid in balance. Trafigura is building the super battery together with its newly established joint venture company Nala Renewables, which plans to expand its green energy portfolio to 2 gigawatts over the next five years, enough to power 2 million households.

Besides the solar park in Lommel, Nyrstar is also cooperating in the development and renovation of the windmill park located in the same community. In addition, the zinc smelter is a partner in the new bird-friendly windmill park in Pelt that will become operational during the course of 2021. In addition, a solar park in Pelt was built on disused land of the zinc smelter.

Guido Janssen: "Drastically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions at Nyrstar Balen is a huge source of pride for us. In addition to developing and supporting green energy projects, it is very important to maintain a level playing field, including within Europe. CO 2-prices are rising and despite the fact that we are now buying 50% green electricity with the financial support of Trafigura, these costs will simply show up on our bill, just like grey electricity. As long as there is a level playing field within Europe, we can continue to compete. We are then in a strong position with a plant that is seen as an example on a global scale."

Zinc, by the way, is an extremely sustainable product: a layer of zinc protects steel from corrosion (that's why your car doesn't rust anymore!). By galvanising steel, it lasts 12 times longer and we save a considerable amount of CO 2-emissions from other producers.

Nyrstar also uses a minimum of trucks to import raw materials: most go by sea vessel, by train and by barge. However, the zinc smelter continues to investigate how it can make its logistics processes and products even more sustainable.

Nyrstar Budel, the Netherlands, announced earlier this year that it purchases 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

About Nyrstar

Nyrstar is a global company, with a leading position in zinc and lead. Nyrstar has mining, smelting and other operations in Europe, the United States and Australia and employs more than 4,000 people.

Global operations are located close to key customers and major transportation hubs to facilitate the delivery of raw materials and distribution of finished products. In August 2019, Nyrstar's operating activities were majority owned by Trafigura, a leader in the global commodities industry. Visit www.nyrstar.com.

Media inquiries

Fabienne Buvens - Communications Advisor Nyrstar Budel Fabienne.Buvens@nyrstar.com - Mobile : +32 (0) 473/78.23.40