Asia is the world’s fastest growing market for rolled aluminum used to create beverage cans, cars and consumer electronics.

Phil Martens, president and CEO of Atlanta, USA-based Novelis, said the opening of the Yeongju facility was an important milestone in Novelis’ sustainability commitment.

“Combined with our other recycling operations worldwide, this new state-of-the-art facility makes Novelis the world’s leading recycler of aluminium, saving valuable natural resources while enabling our customers to create world-class products with a much smaller environmental footprint.”

Novelis, part of the Aditya Birla Group, has committed to dramatically increasing the recycled content of its rolled aluminum products to 80% by 2020. This project represents the first big step in the company’s plan to increase its recycling capacity to 2.1Mt by 2015.

The new facility will have an annual capacity of 265kt, and will increase the company’s total consumption of recycled aluminium to over 1.4Mt/yr. Other significant recycling expansions are already underway in Brazil and Germany, along with additional investments worldwide.

Shashi Maudgal, president of Novelis Asia, said that the commissioning of the new plant was testament to ‘the diligent efforts of Novelis Asia’s management team and the dedication of its skilled workforce'.

“With our aggressive expansion plans, we are well positioned to meet the rising demand for rolled aluminium,” he said.

Novelis hopes that its investment in Asia will make it a major buyer of scrap in the region.

Used aluminum beverage cans and other aluminum scrap will be processed at the new facility for re-melting and casting into sheet ingot that will be rolled at the company’s Yeongju and Ulsan plants.

When running at full capacity, the new operation will create an additional 80 new jobs to Novelis’ 1200-strong Korean workforce.