Circuit boards gathered for recycling.

Boliden sees revenue drop following a year of lower metal prices and a fire. | Bokstaz/Shutterstock

Metal smelter and recycler Boliden, a major consumer of printed circuit boards, saw lower revenues in 2023 but used slightly more recycled materials. 

Overall, the Sweden-based company reported revenues of $7.7 billion. Its smelters reported $7.5 billion in revenue in 2023, down from 2022’s $8.3 billion. 

The company largely works in copper, nickel, zinc and lead, both as virgin material from its mines and as recycled metals from electronics, steel mill dust and batteries. 

The report noted that its Rönnskär smelter in Sweden is one of the world’s largest recyclers of e-scrap, with a capacity of recycling 120,000 metric tons annually. Boliden buys e-scrap, such as printed circuit boards, that are pre-processed by the suppliers. 

Mikael Staffas, president and CEO, said in the report that he does “not think one should hide the fact that we have experienced a year that has been challenging in several ways.” 

“After a strong beginning, the prices of many base metals fell from February onwards, due to economic slowdown in large parts of the world, while Covid-19 recovery in China was weaker than expected,” he said. “This has affected our revenues for the year.” 

Zinc prices fell by an average of 24% in 2023, the report noted, “despite significant supply adjustments in the mining sector.” Nickel prices fell by 16%. The price of copper fell by 4% in 2023, and lead’s dropped 1%.

In addition, the company suffered a large fire that disrupted production. 

Boliden handled 330,000 tons of recycled inputs in 2023, up from 322,000 tons in 2022. Overall, the recycling inputs were about 12% of the overall material Boliden used in 2023, the same as in 2022. 

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