Glencore is a major recycler of end-of-life electronics, lithium-ion batteries, and other critical metal-containing products. We have long been closing the loop for critical metals like copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and precious metals. We are committed to responsibly sourcing the commodities the world needs to advance everyday life. 

This includes: 

  • sourcing recyclable materials from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), other end-of-life sources and processors
  • sampling and value determination
  • processing and refining
  • marketing directly to our industrial customers

Our recycling facilities are located in North America, South America and Europe and are supported by Glencore’s global marketing network, with offices in more than 35 countries. Across our assets, we have more than 75 years’ experience in the recycling industry. 

Recycling towards a circular economy

2022 10 Recycling towards a circular economy

Hear from our team how recycling critical metals is supporting the world in moving towards a circular economy.

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Hear from our team how recycling critical metals is supporting the world in moving towards a circular economy.

We are committed to a circularity driven future. In electronics, we are a member of the Circular Electronics Partnership, which aims to drive system transformation towards the vision of a more circular electronics industry by 2030. In batteries, we are working with a range of key partners, all the way from battery manufacturers to OEMs to other recyclers to remanufacturing and repurposing players to help drive circularity globally.

By recycling metals, we are playing a vital role in the circular economy, diverting materials from landfill and minimising environmental impacts by recycling what we can.

Our approach

Our approach is underpinned by three core areas: leading technological expertise, a commitment to customer excellence and embedding sustainability across the business.

Our operations include extensive sampling and analytical capabilities through our reception and sampling plants as well as our onsite laboratories. Our technical capabilities are adaptable, making it possible to accurately sample and treat a wide range of complex materials. 

In line with Glencore’s values, we prioritise integrity and openness. We work closely and flexibly with customers to ensure prompt turnaround times and logistic solutions, helping them maximise their returns. We work to carefully understand the requirements of each customer – from finance and logistics to environment. 

Transforming recyclable material into refined metals for use in new products plays an important role preserving our environment for future generations. As a qualified downstream for R2- and e-Stewards-certified electronics processors, and undergoing periodic third party health, safety and environmental management assurance at all of our facilities (many with ISO certifications), we close the loop between processors, manufacturers and consumers by recycling electronics.

Our recycling operations

Accross our network of marketing offices, sampling facilities and metallurgical operations, we receive a wide range of materials from over 30 countries, serving a broad customer base.

Founded in 1927 and with a history of recycling dating back to the 1980s, the Horne smelter, located in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, is North America's largest processors of electronic scrap containing copper and precious metals. The smelter is a custom copper smelter which uses both copper concentrates and precious metal bearing recyclable materials as its feedstock to produce a 99.1% copper anode. The anode is shipped to the Canadian Copper Refinery (CCR) in Montreal to be converted into 99.99% copper cathodes which are sold on world markets. At CCR, gold and silver are refined into dore.

The Horne smelter has the capacity to process 840,000 tonnes per annum of copper and precious metal bearing materials.

One of the notable features of the Horne smelter is its ability to process a wide-range of feeds, including copper and precious metal bearing electronic materials.

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In operation since 1931, the CCR refinery is located in Montreal, Quebec, and processes high-grade copper scrap. Copper anodes are converted into 99.99% copper cathodes and sold on world markets. 

The plant is equipped to process anodes that are high in bismuth, antimony, lead and nickel. The refinery's precious metal slimes processing plant obtains feed from internally generated, as well as externally purchased, slimes. The CCR refinery's products include copper cathodes, gold, silver and other specialty metals and chemicals, including selenium, tellurium, copper sulphate, nickel sulphate and a concentrate of platinum group metals.

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Our Rhode Island sampling facility is located in East Providence and is dedicated to the sampling and sample preparation of precious metal bearing materials, primarily generated by the electronics industry.

All of the materials received and sampled at Rhode Island are sent to the Horne Smelter for smelting.

Our San Jose sampling plant is located in California and is one of the largest processors of precious metal bearing electronic scrap on the West Coast of the United States. This site certifies the destruction of proprietary electronic materials for the reclamation and recovery of copper and precious metals.

This operation is a Hazardous Waste Treatment and Storage facility and is fully permitted to process recyclable materials containing manifested hazardous wastes under a permit from the state of California EPA.

Located in northern Chile, near the port of Antofagasta, Altonorte is a custom copper smelting operation, and established recycler of high-grade copper scrap. 

More information on: Glencore Chile (Spanish only)

Sudbury, Ontario has been home to Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Sudbury INO) since 1928.

The ISO 14001 certified nickel smelter processes nickel-copper concentrate as well as custom feed materials in the form of concentrates and secondary products to produce a nickel matte, which is sent to port facilities in Quebec City, and from there to Glencore’s Nikkelverk refinery in Norway. The operation has the ability to safely treat complex feeds such as Li-ion or NiMH batteries, catalysts and plating sludges. 

More information on: Sudbury INO

Our ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified Nikkelverk Refinery, located in Kristiansand, has been in operation since 1910. Nikkelverk receives nickel matte from our Sudbury Smelter which processes primary and secondary materials. Nikkelverk is a major nickel refinery with a production capacity of approximately 92,000 tonnes of nickel per year.

More information on: Nikkelverk

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Located in Sardinia, Italy, our Portovesme lead and zinc smelter processes electric arc furnace (EAF) steel dust. EAF dust is a zinc-containing by-product of the steel production process, and our recycling and processing of this material avoids it be sent to landfill. Any lead recovered from this process is also treated on site, together with spent car battery paste, mined lead concentrates and zinc smelter residues to produce refined lead. 

More information on: Portovesme

Materials we recycle

We recycle a wide variety of complex end-of-life electronics, batteries, and other products and materials that contain metals in order to extract copper, nickel, cobalt, lead and precious metals, helping support a circular supply chain that gives a new life to products that might otherwise be sent to landfill. 


We process a diverse range of end-of-life electronics, such as circuit boards, electronic components (e.g. connectors, pins, integrated circuits), as well as mobile phones, and insulated copper wire. 


We process complex input materials such as lithium-ion batteries. Our goal is to support the circular economy – one in which recycled metals and minerals flow back into the battery supply chain.

Copper bearing materials

We recycle a wide range of copper bearing scrap, such as, high grade copper (#1 and #2 Cu), brass, turnings, and residues (dross, muds, hydroxide, dust and catalysts)

Other metal bearing material

We recycle a wide range of metal-containing scrap materials, including brass, turnings and residues such as dross, sludge, hydroxide, dust, incinerator slag, and various copper bearing materials from end-of-life processing of automobiles.