In late May, Wieland North America, the North American division of Germany-based Wieland Group, announced its plans to invest approximately $100 million to open a recycling and refining facility in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Matt Bedingfield, Wieland North America’s president of recycling, offered Recycling Today additional details on the announcement.
“Wieland views this as more than another business investment,” he says. “This investment is a foundational long-term commitment to 1) Our customers. Wieland is focused on being a reliable strategic partner for its customer base. The market today and going forward demands sustainably produced products from companies with sustainable values; 2) Our people. Our current and future employees want to work for a company with sustainable practices—it communicates passion, purpose and pride; 3) Our planet. This investment underscores Wieland’s commitment to producing its products in the most efficient and sustainable way. Copper is green, healthy and infinitely recyclable—it’s already a crucial component of the most innovative technologies, and its role in electro-mobility, energy efficiency and renewable energy is growing.”
Bedingfield says the 81-acre site will be able to produce approximately 225 million pounds, which is in excess of 100,000 tons, of copper annually with room for expansion.
“The current plan is to install fire-refining capability in addition to shredding, sorting and other processes to upgrade scrap for use in Wieland foundry operations and for the market at large,” he explains. “The site will allow Wieland the space to evaluate expansion opportunities as they present themselves, and Wieland is committed to growing in the recycling space where it makes sense.”
The Shelbyville plant will produce high-quality ingot for Wieland’s use and for external sales as well as upgraded scrap units that the company will consume internally or sell, he says.
“We believe this is a positive message for our suppliers,” Bedingfield says. “This project firmly cements Wieland as a customer for many years to come and signals that we plan to grow as a consumer of scrap. Some relationships may need to evolve in terms of what we buy and how we create value, but we are very eager to engage in conversations with all suppliers about how we can work together going forward.”
Earlier this year, Wieland North America announced plans to establish its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, investing $8.8 million and creating 75 full-time jobs. The Shelbyville plant will employ an additional 75 people in the state and will use the latest and most efficient technology to recycle a broad range of metals and alloys, the company says.
“We are in the process of selecting design and build firms for the project but have not made a final choice at this time,” Bedingfield says of the Shelbyville site.
Before selecting Shelbyville for the plant, Bedingfield says Wieland evaluated many sites in multiple states. “At the end of the day, Kentucky, and Shelby County, worked with us to create a business environment which is logistically advantaged and operationally competitive,” he adds. “The state and county worked very closely with us to make sure Kentucky was the right choice.”
Wieland says it expects operations in Shelbyville to begin in late 2022.