Boliden launches low-carbon copper products

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Boliden said it has launched two “green” copper products this week, the first of its kind, hoping to appeal to consumers aiming to cut their carbon footprint.

The two copper cathode products - one sourced from recycled electronic scrap, the other from reduced-emissions mining - will have less than half the average carbon dioxide emissions of traditionally mined copper, Martin Eriksson, copper sales manager, said on Friday.

The main spotlight on cutting emissions from industrial metals so far has been aluminium due to its very energy-intensive production, but copper’s wide use makes it important as well, he added.

Copper, the third most consumed industrial metal after iron and aluminium, is used in electric cabling, construction and increasingly in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

“The mining part of copper is the big polluter when it comes to CO2, but in our mines, the main source of energy is hydro electricity,” Eriksson told Reuters in an interview.

“We’re also expanding our initiative in our high tech mines with electrified vehicles.”

About half of Boliden’s annual output of 350,000 tonnes of copper cathode will be marketed as low carbon.

Both are guaranteed to have less than 1.5 kg of CO2 per kg of metal, compared to an average of about 4 kg for traditionally mined copper, according to independent certification firm Intertek.

That incorporates scope one, two and three emissions, including indirect levels, for example from the production of explosives used for blasting at open pit mines.

Emissions from the recycled product would be lower if it was sourced from pure copper scrap, but it comes from old electronics, and includes plastic, Eriksson said.

So far Boliden is only getting a small premium for its green copper products, but this has scope to increase as pressure grows on companies to cut their emissions, he added. (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Jan Harvey)