The fuzzy situation with the concession of Bulgaria’s ports of Bourgas and Varna is delaying a EUR 25 million investment project, said Peter Willbrandt, board member of Europe’s largest copper producer Aurubis.

Speaking to Dnevnik at the dedication ceremony of the company’s expanded slag flotation plant in the Bulgarian town of Pirdop, Willbrandt said that Aurubis plans to build a raw materials warehousing facility at the port of Bourgas, on the southern Black Sea coast.

But while it pledged back in March to concession off the ports, the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport has still not launched the procedure although preparation is already underway. No deadline for signing the concession agreements has been fixed though, the ministry noted.

At the moment, Aurubis takes 60% of its raw materials from South America via Bourgas, deriving the balance from local mines. Nicolas Treand, executive director of the site in Bulgaria, said the Bulgarian administration lacks the initiative needed to implement such projects.

Commenting on ambitions by the European Commission (EC) to slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30%, Willbrandt said this target would place an additional burden on copper producers. Unless schemes are put in place to offset this impact, the industry might be caused to disappear, he warned. (Reuters)