Costa Rican Scrap Metal Becomes $39 Million in Export Revenue

Costa Rica scrap metal

The legacy that his father left him 47 years ago allowed Rafael Zúñiga, general manager of the firm Zubre, to build a business of collection and export of scrap, and generate new sources of jobs through recruitment of providers.

The company (located in Paso Ancho, San Jose) is part of the list of the 58 main exporters of iron or steel waste prepared by the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), a number that is on the rise over the past five years, when there were only 34.

Along with the number of companies exports have also increased. Last year the country sold abroad $ 39 million of scrap metal, almost 45% more than in 2010, and nearly double what it did in 2007.

At present, as confirmed by Zuniga, Zubre has dozens of suppliers around the country that collect in average 100 tons per week of waste and recyclable materials and export them to China and Taiwan.

“We do not buy anything of dubious origin. If someone comes with some institutional material, we call the security forces. We do not buy dirty or corrosive material, because we have an environmental plan, “he said.

The scrap is converted in the host countries in bobbins, rods, cars and ingots which are then exported back to developing countries.

The price for suppliers, as confirmed by the same managers, varies according to what happens in international markets with these metals.

For Frivarso industry representative, Frank Hurtado, the national population should remove the bad image that has of a junkyard.

In countries like Italy and the United States business has a good image. Some companies, like ours, which invest in machinery to prevent the physical risk of working with these materials, “he explained.

The company recorded 110 suppliers that are responsible for collecting the material with their trucks and take it to the properties for seleccior, melted and exported.

“For many of them is their way of life and their only livelihood,” said Hurtado. This was confirmed by Juan Carlos Jara, Puriscal neighbor, who has eight years of collecting junk. “It’s a very productive business, which involves the whole family. What happens is that there are so many people that are going to kill you. ”

“Thanks to these income I have my house and my truck. We are taking actions to conserve the environment, “said Jara.

The main export destinations of Costa Rica are Taiwan (42%) and South Korea (17%).

Then, United States (8%), Ecuador (7%), China and Guatemala (4%, respectively) and a group of other destinations account for 18%.

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