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Last primary lead smelter in USA to close.

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Brian in Oregon, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Hello steel shot....

    Doe Run to shut Herculaneum lead plant at 2013 end

    NEW YORK, June 29 | Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:13am EDT

    (Reuters) - The only primary lead smelter in the United States will close, and its owner, Doe Run Co said o n F riday, and the company will not build another plant to replace the one it is closing at Herculaneum, Missouri.

    The company, which the U.S. government had ordered to either shut the smelter or install cleaner technology, said the electro winning technology developed to process lead at Herculaneum did not make financial sense for that site.

    "Doe Run has decided not to build its proposed, lead electro winning plant to process its Missouri mineral resources. We concluded that building a plant here would generate an unacceptable financial risk to the company," Jerry Pyatt, vice president and chief operating officer, said in a press release.

    He said the privately held lead producer will continue to explore the use of the technology at other locations in North America. He added that Doe Run thinks the electro winning technology will provide a positive business model in different circumstances.

    Due to its agreement to comply with the U.S. government's tighter air standards associated with lead smelting, he said, Doe Run will close its Herculaneum primary lead smelter at the end of 2013.

    The St. Louis, Missouri-based lead producer will work with the 278 employees at Herculaneum to help them plan for their transition, he said.
     
  2. oz

    oz Active Member

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    I wonder where we'll buy lead for nuclear power plants and subs???? CHINA???
     
  3. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Google Doe Run Lead Smelter, and you'll find they have pollution lawsuits and other issues with lead contamination.
     
  4. Model Number 12

    Model Number 12 TS Member

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    Lead is considered a strategic metal by the military and is stockpiled as such.

    Now what?
     
  5. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    This is a bit like bauxite and aluminum.

    Bauxite is the ore from which aluminum is produced. To do so uses and incredible amount of power (electricity) and is rather messy. Once 'turned' to aluminum though it is easy to process and recycle.

    Essentially the same is true of lead. Metallic lead is easy to process and recycle, and that's that we are after. To process 'raw' lead (not sure if it is technically an ore or not) you need a smelter, but once in a fairly pure form lead it is easy to work with.

    Metallic lead is traded as a commodity on the open market.

    Thus, while the loss of a 'primary' processor is not a good thing we do the same with aluminum, gold, etc. - import the processed product rather than the raw material.
     
  6. Lead Miner

    Lead Miner Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    This artical is a bit misleading. Terry
     
  7. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Here is a description of the smelting process under consideration - It's a lot worse than melting wheel weights.
     
  8. Zoom.Golly

    Zoom.Golly Well-Known Member

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    China imports lead ore. It exports processed lead. Neither China nor India recycle much lead. USA recycles much more, and lead recycling (mostly car batteries) is a nasty, dirty business one would think could be better done in a country like India or China.
     
  9. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    TTT
     
  10. BILL GRILL

    BILL GRILL Well-Known Member

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    Yep let's do it all in India and China. Then we can all sell cars and flip burgers. :)
     
  11. Fast Oil

    Fast Oil TS Member

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    Guess you can look for an increase in lead batteries and oh, guess those electric cars will cost you more also.
     
  12. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Smelting is real old school technology and its really isn't that good as far as technology goes. The various hydro-met extraction methods coupled with SX + precip or EW is the way to go.

    The problem with allowing the old school technology to continue in other countries is that they are still located on this planet. We can't continue to spew heavy metal toxins into the atmosphere or reject the crap to our oceans and there is no good reason to do so.

    Now before the self appointed keepers of the local right wing talking points jump me for being a liberal commie tree hugger, I need to stress that mineral processing is my profession and has been for the last 3 decades. And there are plenty of other professionals in the industry that truly believe as I do which is we need to do our job in the least damaging way possible. Our families and future families are counting on us not to muck things up.

    So bye bye Doe Run, and clean your mess up before you leave.
     
  13. 548

    548 Guest

    Good post Wolfram. If Doe Run decides to close, perhaps it is because of sound reasoning. In a capitalist society, where there is a hole, there is an opportunity. The hole get's filled and it usually doesn't take long.
     
  14. Zoom.Golly

    Zoom.Golly Well-Known Member

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    So Wolfram,I'm not sure what these are - various hydro-met extraction methods coupled with SX + precip or EW - but I take it from the general tone of your post these are current technology to extract lead from lead ore.

    Are those processes currently used on a commercial level in the USA?
     
  15. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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  16. Model Number 12

    Model Number 12 TS Member

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    Wolfram-glad to hear you're not a seal-saving, dirt worshipping, tree hugging communist.

    Where does this leave us here in the good old U.S.A. as far as a supply of lead? I'm asking as a shooter who uses it. Will we now be facing more competition for the same supply?
     
  17. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    Where is lead from the various reclamation projects of clubs around the country going to get processed? It would appear that the owners of Doe Run see a new facility cost prohibitive in this era of an ever growing intrusive government.
     
  18. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    All Wolfram stated may be and probably is accurate however looking at the picture of what should be done ideally does have an impact on the price of lead

    China is going to use the lead it produces for its own use and that includes end products- and then sell the products on the open market first--

    Then it will sell the remaining lead ( if any) on the open market.

    Its supply and demand- price goes up if demand is greater ( here in the US) than supply

    Interestingly- the US was able to pollute for 120 years and now we want the rest of the world to stop? Right, as if that will happen anytime soon. Coal is a much bigger example

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  19. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The good news on hydro-met extraction methods is that they are affordable usually on the order of $25 per ton of ore. That price is about 3 to four times what old school smelting costs but it isn't a deal breaker. The bulk of the metal production costs will be in operating the mine itself. This is where things get really expensive in the US economy. So underdeveloped countries have an edge there due to much lower labor costs and minimal tax burdens.

    How does this effect us the shooter? Well we will see but it is improbable that the dollar price of anything will drop in our lifetimes. Not to worry though, the gold industry use to rely on smelting whole ores and but got away from that more than thirty years ago. They didn't suffer too badly and US gold producing operations complete very effectively in the global market.
     
  20. Zoom.Golly

    Zoom.Golly Well-Known Member

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    Wolfram - With the closing of this smelting operation, are there currently any facilities in the USA for processing lead ore into lead?