Reducing the environmental impact of the steel industry while promoting a shift towards a circular economy and the development of innovative processes. This is the main objective of the European Investment Bank (EIB)’s 18 million euro loan to Tapojarvi, a family-owned Finnish midcap founded in 1955 that specialises in handling, processing, and recycling services for the mining and steel industry.
The EIB funds, backed by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) — the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe — will cover Tapojarvi’s investment in an innovative slag processing and valorisation plant located in Umbria, Italy.
The project will also cover the initial testing and ramp-up phases to transform the slag into valuable by-products and reduce landfilling. This will entail the deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies compliant with industry 4.0 principles, introducing innovative recycled products mainly for construction use, and reducing the consumption of natural resources and raw materials. Hence, the project will support a shift towards a circular economy and will contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of a highly polluting industry.
Moreover, the project will increase Tapojarvi’s competitiveness and boost job creation in Umbria, an Italian cohesion region with higher unemployment rates than the European Union’s average. It is estimated that the project will contribute to creating more than 500 jobs during the implementation phase.
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy, said:
“I welcome the EIB support, backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, for Finnish company Tapojarvi. This funding will go towards an innovative industrial plant in Umbria, and towards developing ways to transform slag into valuable by-products and reduce landfilling. In doing so, the project will support the regional economy and the creation of 500 jobs in the implementation phase, while increasing recycling and reducing the consumption of natural resources and raw materials in the steel and mining industry.”
Gelsomina Vigliotti, EIB Vice-President, stated:
“Operations like the one signed with Tapojarvi are essential to support the shift toward a more circular and sustainable economy as they contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of stainless steel plants via the recovery of valuable raw materials. Circular economy is a key instrument to fight climate change and reduce businesses’ dependency on imports from third parties.”
Martti Kaikkonen, Chief Executive Officer, Tapojarvi Italia S.r.l., stated:
“The Tapojarvi project in Italy is a second-generation eco-innovative slag processing plant based on more than 15 years of experience in slag processing and productization in Finland. Tapojarvi will continue its internationalization and expand the slag processing and productization to other European countries.”
About the European Investment Bank (EIB)
The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Between 2019 and 2021, the EIB Group provided more than €36 billion in financing for projects in Italy.
About the European Investment Bank (EIB) & Cohesion
Financing projects that help strengthen the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union has been at the heart of EIB operations since its foundation in 1958. In the last five years (2017-2021), the EIB provided EUR 90.8 billion to projects supporting cohesion. For 2021 alone, this amounted to EUR 19.8 billion, equivalent to 41% of total EU signatures. The EIB’s cohesion financing supports projects in the EU’s transition and less developed regions (those with a GDP per inhabitant below the EU average) that fall under at least one of our four priorities: innovation, infrastructure, SMEs and environmental sustainability. In October 2021, the EIB approved a new framework to increase its cohesion action. By 2025, 45% of total EIB financing in the European Union will support projects in cohesion regions, with more than half in Europe’s less developed regions.
About the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees that enable the EIB Group to invest in riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing as part of EFSI have to date attracted investments totalling €524.3 billion and benefiting more than 1.4 million SMEs. In Italy, EFSI financing so far is set to trigger €76 billion in additional investments. The Investment Plan for Europe has been now succeeded by InvestEU, although some previously approved operations can still be signed.
Tapojarvi is a global forerunner of the industrial circular economy and specialist in mining and mill services. Tapojarvi’s business is a circular economy on an industrial scale, in which large quantities of materials are processed in a continuous process, which are processed into recycled products and given a second or third life cycle to materials and natural resources that have already been used once. Concrete economic, environmental, climatic and social benefits are achieved by utilizing industrial side streams. By separating and returning the metals back to processing Tapojarvi saves a full mining process from top soil removal to concentrate transportation. By Circular Economy Tapojarvi saves natural resources by lowering the amount of new mines to be opened and will focus the increased technical, environmental and well-being knowledge to the currently operating mines and to utilization of the mines closed already. By creating products of the side streams and utilizing recycled materials Tapojarvi replaces the products and solutions made of the virgin natural resources and minimize waste to be landfilled. Tapojarvi carries out circular economy services for steel, mining and pulp and paper industries. Tapojarvi also bears responsibility for Europe’s emergency supply and resilience by preparing the reuse of the Hannukainen iron-copper-gold mine in Lapland, which was closed in the 1990s.
Source – EU Commission