Korea Zinc [010130:KS], the world’s largest lead and zinc smelter, announced a deal to purchase a 73.21% stake in US electronic waste (e-waste) recycling firm Igneo Holdings with USD332m, as reported by the Korea Economic Daily on July 12. Igneo collects e-waste and extracts copper, gold, silver, and palladium during the smelting process. Through the deal, Korea Zinc hopes to secure a steady supply of copper foil materials, materials used for rechargeable batteries. According to Korea Zinc Co-CEO Choi Yun-Birm, the acquisition will contribute to the firm’s efforts to shift into renewable energy. The deal came two months after Korean Zinc released a plan to invest USD6.6bn in green power through 2030.
Korea Zinc aims to rise above its non-ferrous metal smelting business and venture into renewable energy, green hydrogen, waste recycling, and rechargeable battery materials. Last September, the company joined the RE100 initiative, an organization whose members commit to using 100% renewable power. After three months, the enterprise acquired Australia’s largest renewable energy developer Epuron in a move to decarbonize its zinc processing business and power the production of green hydrogen. By adopting recycled materials and renewable power, the company is responding to increasing pressure from regulators and investors to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns.