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Aurubis AG
IndustryMetals and Mining
PredecessorNorddeutsche Affinerie, Cumerio
Founded1866 (as Norddeutsche Affinerie AG until 2009)
Number of locations
Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, United States, Italy, Finland
Area served
Europe, USA, Asia
Key people
Roland Harings (CEO), Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt (Chairman of the supervisory board)
ProductsCopper extraction, recycling of copper and precious metals, manufactured copper products
Revenue€ 18.52 billion (2021/2022)[1]
Number of employees
6,913 (September 30, 2022)
Aerial view of the headquarters in Hamburg
The sites of Aurubis AG

Aurubis AG (formerly Norddeutsche Affinerie AG) is a global supplier of non-ferrous metals and one of the world's largest copper recyclers. The company processes complex metal concentrates, scrap, organic and inorganic metal-bearing recycling materials and industrial residues into metals. Aurubis produces more than 1 million tons of copper cathodes per year and from these a variety of products such as wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles and flat rolled products in copper and copper alloys. Aurubis also produces a range of other metals, including precious metals such as selenium, lead, nickel, tin and zinc. The portfolio also includes other products such as sulfuric acid and iron silicate.

Following the acquisition of the Belgian copper producer Cumerio by Norddeutsche Affinerie AG on February 18, 2008, the company was renamed Aurubis on April 1, 2009.

Aurubis has about 6,900 employees, production sites in Europe and the USA and a worldwide sales network.

Aurubis shares are listed in the Prime Standard Segment of the German Stock Exchange and in the MDAX, the Global Challenges Index (GCX), and the STOXX Europe 600.


Aurubis names the company ‘Beit, Marcus und Salomon Gold- und Silberscheider’ (‘Beit, Marcus und Salomon Gold and Silver Parting’) in the Elbstrasse in Hamburg as its predecessor. It was first mentioned in the Hamburg merchant almanac in 1783, but Marcus Salomon Beit was already given the permission to build a silver parting and smelting furnace in Hamburg in 1770. As time went on, the company did not only smelt coins and precious metal alloys but also silver ores so that a shift of the production towards ore smelting occurred. After 1830 Hamburg ship owners started to ship copper ore on the emigration ships when they returned to Germany from North and South America, and sometimes Australia. In 1846 the ‘Elbkupferwerk’ was founded on the river Elbe's island Steinwerder in cooperation with Johann Cesar Godeffroy and Siegmund Robinow.

The economic recovery led to the foundation of the ‘Elbhütten Affinerie- und Handelsgesellschaft’ in 1856 which merged the Elbkupferwerk with the Beit Gold and Silver Parting company. Delivery and smelting of copper and silver ores were processed in Steinwerder, the Elbstrasse site oversaw the processing by ‘affination’ in smelters and the sale of the products. The annual copper production amounted to 3,000 tonnes. On 28 April 1866 Norddeutsche Affinerie was founded as a stock corporation with participation of Norddeutsche Bank and Allgemeine Deutsche Kreditanstalt.[2]

Copper was produced at the ‘Peute’, an industrial area of the Hamburg district Veddel since 1910. The production plants occupy great parts of the industrial area there.

Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, the Jewish members of the management board Richard Merton, Julius Levisohn and Heinrich Wohlwill were forced to step down.[3]: 39  The Norddeutsche Affinerie profited by increased public investment and expanded its business significantly. By 1939, the company provided nearly half the German demand for copper and employed 1450 people.[3]: 37  In the aftermath of the November pogroms, the company took part in processing gold that was extorted from Jewish owners.[3]: 39–40  In 1939, Wilhelm Avieny of Metallgesellschaft and Hermann Schlosser, CEO of Degussa, were appointed to leading positions on the supervisory board of Norddeutsche Affinerie. Both were early supporters of the NSDAP and linked to Nazi politics due to the importance of their respective companies.[3]: 39  During World War II, Norddeutsche Affinerie was an important supplier to the munitions industry and used forced labor to maintain production. At its peak in July 1944, 806 of 1900 employees were forced laborers.[3]: 41 

Norddeutsche Affinerie took over 91% of the Belgium copper producer Cumerio until 18 February 2008 after a long dispute with the Austrian A-TEC Industries. A squeeze-out completed the acquisition of Cumerio on 15 April 2008.[4]

In May 2023, a serious industrial accident occurred at the primary copper smelter plant of Aurubis in Hamburg. Following a nitrogen leak during regular maintenance, three fatalities were reported.[5]


Cross section of an Aurubis copper billet produced by continuous casting: radial crystallite structure revealed after etching.

The core business is the production of copper cathodes from copper concentrates, scrap, and recycled materials (copper refining). These include continuous cast wire rod, shaped rod, rolled products and strips as well as specialty wire made of copper and copper alloys. Aurubis also processes precious metals. The Group produces and markets several elements of copper production as specialty products, including, but not limited to sulfuric acid and iron silicate.

Aurubis customers include the copper semis industry, the electrical engineering, electronics and chemical industries as well as suppliers of renewable energy. The construction and automotive sectors are also represented.

The company was listed in the encyclopedia of German world market leaders in 2010.

Shareholder structure[edit]

Aurubis shares belong to the Prime Standard segment of the German Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse) and are included in the MDAX, STOXX Europe 600 and Global Challenges Index (GCX). With a share of 29.99 % of the Company's capital stock, Salzgitter AG is Aurubis' anchor investor. The remaining 70.01 % of the voting shares are considered free float. Shares of all shareholders subject to reporting requirements see table:


(in percent)

29,99[7] Salzgitter AG
3,17 BlackRock Inc.
4,4 Dimension Holdings Inc.

Status: October 4, 2022

Environmental protection[edit]

Environmental and climate protection are among the key targets of Aurubis’ corporate strategy and are outlined in the company guidelines. State-of-the-art plant technologies which set international benchmarks are used in environmental protection. The expansion of recycling activities in the Group helps to close material cycles in an environmentally friendly way and is thus an important contribution to sustainable development. Beyond compliance with legal requirements, voluntary commitments like the chemical industry's "Responsible Care" initiative are important instruments for continuously improving performance in environmental and health protection at Aurubis. A uniform environmental standard was created and implemented for the Aurubis Group. The environmental management system at all of the main sites in the Aurubis Group are ISO 14001 certified. The Hamburg and Lünen sites as well as Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk are EMAS certified.[8]

A total of €359 million has been invested in environmental protection measures at the Hamburg site in the past 30 years. Five agreements on improving environmental protection and increasing energy efficiency have been concluded with the Hamburg State Authority of Urban Development and Environment and successfully implemented. In February 2011 a sixth emission reduction agreement was concluded between Aurubis and the city of Hamburg. This sixth agreement comprises environmental protection measures with a capital expenditure totalling about €20 million and is in effect until 2016.

Aurubis, formerly Norddeutsche Affinerie, is considered to be the biggest heavy metal emitter in northern Germany. In the early 1980s, arsenic and cadmium in particular were shown to be present in the wastewater discharge and in the stacks’ exhaust air.[9] There was an arsenic scandal in Hamburg in 1985 when it was discovered that heavy metals had accumulated in the soil in eastern Hamburg, especially in agricultural areas. This became a scandal because the Hamburg authorities tried to conceal it. The environmental protection group Physik-Geowissenschaften took water and soil samples showing that arsenic, cadmium, copper, zinc and other heavy metals had accumulated in the harbour mud in front of the plant and was still entering the river Elbe in 2005 through cracks in the embankment.

In August 2020 Aurubis signed a contract with the Norwegian mining company Nussir ASA. The company plans to mine about 2 million tons of ore annually in the next 15 years. Several environmental and human rights organizations criticize the project.[10] In a statement of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) the problem is expressed as follows: "The Sami, who keep reindeer herds in the region of the future Nussir mine, are against new copper mining projects. From their point of view, the plans are to be seen as a violation of their right to free, prior, informed consent. Thus, Aurubis should not fulfill its copper contract with Nussir without the express consent of the Sami reindeer herders. Nils Utsi, chairman of the Repparfjord reindeer herders: The mine is in our animals' delivery room. If it is really put into operation, we will lose our herds ".[11] In August 2021, Aurubis terminated the contract, due to these issues.[12]


As of 2010:

  • Agropolychim AD, Devnya (1%)
  • Aurubis Olen nv, Olen (100%)
  • Aurubis Bulgaria AD, Pirdop (99.77%)
  • Aurubis Engineering EAD, Sofia (100%)
  • Aurubis Italia Srl, Avellino (100%)
  • Aurubis Slovakia s.r.o., Dolny Kubin (100%)
  • Aurubis Stolberg GmbH & Co. KG, Stolberg (100%)
  • Aurubis Stolberg Verwaltungs-GmbH, Stolberg (100%)
  • Aurubis Switzerland SA, Yverdon-les-Bains (100%)
  • Aurubis U.K. Ltd., Smethwick (100%)
  • Azeti GmbH, Berlin (100%)[13]
  • C.M.R. International N.V., Antwerp (50%)
  • CABLO Metall-Recycling & Handel GmbH, Fehrbellin (100%)
  • CIS Solartechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Bremerhaven (50%)
  • Cumerio Austria GmbH, Vienna (100%)
  • Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH, Emmerich (60%)
  • E.R.N. Elektro-Recycling NORD GmbH, Hamburg (70%)
  • Hüttenbau-Gesellschaft Peute mbH, Hamburg (100%)
  • JoSeCo GmbH, Kirchheim/Swabia (33%)
  • Peute Baustoff GmbH, Hamburg (100%)
  • PHG Peute Hafen- und Industriebetriebsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg (7%)
  • Retorte do Brasil LTDA, Joinville (51%)
  • RETORTE GmbH Selenium Chemicals & Metals, Röthenbach (100%)
  • Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH, Stolberg (50%)
  • Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG, Stolberg (50%)
  • VisioNA GmbH, Hamburg (50%)

As of 2008/2009:

  • Berliner Kupfer-Raffinerie GmbH i. L., Hamburg, Germany (100%)
  • C.M.R. International N. V., Antwerp, Belgium (50%)
  • CABLO Metall-Recycling & Handel GmbH, Fehrbellin, Germany (100%)
  • CIS Solartechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Bremerhaven, Germany (50%)
  • Deutsche Giessdraht GmbH, Emmerich, Germany (60%)
  • E.R.N. Elektro-Recycling NORD GmbH, Hamburg, Germany (70%)
  • EIP Metals Ltd., Smethwick, United Kingdom (100%)
  • Hüttenbau-Gesellschaft Peute mbH, Hamburg, Germany (100%)
  • Former Hüttenwerke Kayser, now “Aurubis Lünen” GmbH, Lünen, Germany (100%)
  • JoSeCo GmbH, Kirchheim/Swabia (33%)
  • Peute Baustoff GmbH, Hamburg, German (100%)
  • PHG Peute Hafen- und Industriebetriebsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg, Germany (7%)
  • Prymetall GmbH & Co. KG, Stolberg (Rhld.), Germany (100%)
  • RETORTE Ulrich Scharrer GmbH, Röthenbach an der Pegnitz (100%)
  • Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG, Stolberg (Rhld.), Germany (50%)
  • VisioNA GmbH, Hamburg, Germany (50%)

Aurubis Executive and Supervisory Boards[edit]

Executive Board[edit]

  • Roland Harings (CEO) since July 1, 2019
  • Heiko Arnold (Executive Board member since August 15, 2020)
  • Inge Hofkens (Executive Board member since January 1, 2023)
  • Rainer Verhoeven (Executive Board member since January 1, 2018)

Supervisory Board[edit]

  • Fritz Vahrenholt (since November 26, 1999, Chairman since March 1, 2018)
  • Stefan Schmidt (since March 1, 2018, Vice Chairman since June 12, 2019)
  • Deniz Acar (since May 3, 2019)
  • Kathrin Dahnke (since February 16, 2023)
  • Christian Ehrentraut (since May 3, 2019)
  • Gunnar Groebler (since October 1, 2021)
  • Markus Kramer (since February 16, 2023)
  • Jan Koltze (since March 3, 2011)
  • Stephan Krümmer (since March 1, 2018)
  • Elke Lossin (since March 1, 2018)
  • Sandra Reich (since February 28, 2013)
  • Daniel Mrosek (February 16, 2023)

Notable people[edit]

  • Bernd Drouven, chairman of the executive board from 16 January 2008 to 31 December 2011, Executive Board member from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2011
  • Joachim Faubel, Supervisory Board member from 1 July 2006 to 29 February 2008
  • Ulf Gänger, Supervisory Board member until 31 December 2008
  • Jürgen Haußelt, Supervisory Board member until 29 February 2008
  • Gerd Körner, Supervisory Board member until 29 February 2008
  • Günther Kroll, Supervisory Board member until 30 June 2006
  • Bernd Langner, Supervisory Board member until 31 December 2008
  • Thomas Leysen, Supervisory Board member from 29 February 2008 to 30 September 2009
  • Werner Marnette, chairman of the executive board until 9 November 2007


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "History of the company". Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Aurubis AG (2016). Cu 150.0 : Tradition - Expertise - Innovation ; 1866-2016 : the history of the Copper Group : 150 years of the future : Aurubis (PDF). München: August Dreesbach Verlag. ISBN 978-3-944334-71-4. OCLC 953968198.
  4. ^ "Squeeze-out: Cumerio verlässt die Börse - manager magazin". 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  5. ^ Taylor, Brian. "Aurubis incident in Germany causes three fatalities". Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  6. ^ "BaFin - bedeutende Stimmrechtsanteile nach § 39 des Wertpapierhandelsgesetzes (WpHG)". Retrieved 2022-07-17.
  7. ^ "Geschäftsbericht 2021 – Konzernlagebericht und Lagebericht der Salzgitter AG" (PDF). p. 48. Retrieved 2022-07-17.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Aktie unter der Lupe: Die Norddeutsche Affinerie hat guten Draht zu Analysten" (in German). 2001-08-22. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  10. ^ "Countermotions for the (virtual) Annual General Meeting on February 11, 2021 in Hamburg" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-05-02.
  11. ^ "Annual general meeting of copper group Aurubis".
  12. ^ "Aurubis and Nussir terminate memorandum of understanding regarding future concentrate supply".
  13. ^ "Aurubis acquires Berlin software developer azeti". Retrieved 2021-01-31.


External links[edit]

Media related to Aurubis at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ "Aurubis Management". Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-02-28.