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Horsehead investments set to pay off

Keywords: Tags  Horsehead Holding, zinc, Zochem, zinc oxide, Robert Scherich, Jim Hensler, Everdeen Mason


NEW YORK — Horsehead Holding Corp. said investments in zinc oxide subsidiary Zochem Inc. and a new zinc smelting plant in Mooresboro, N.C., will pay off when both projects are completed by the end of this year.

Pittsburgh-based Horsehead doubled its net earnings at Zochem in the second quarter and posted a 20-percent increase in zinc oxide production compared with the first three months of this year, vice president and chief financial officer Robert Scherich said during an earnings conference call Aug. 5.

Horsehead recently received a building permit to begin a $15-million expansion at the facility in Brampton, Ontario, and expects to increase production to an annual rate of 72,000 tons by the end of 2013, Scherich said.

Zochem said late last month that it expects prices to rise on base and specialty grades of zinc oxide products through the second half of 2013 and into 2014 ( amm.com, July 31).

"The increase hopefully carries through contract negotiations for next year," Scherich said. "There have been some cost increases in the market for higher prices in metal, and with the reduction in output next year there will be a tightening in the market so the market will support another price increase."

The company announced a price increase of up to 10 cents per pound last year ( amm.com, Sept. 5).

Horsehead also expects to complete its new zinc smelter in Mooresboro at the end of this year, with its lead and silver recover circuit starting up in 2014, president and chief executive officer Jim Hensler said. The company expects to hire 45 people by the end of the week to start training for work at the new facility.

The Mooresboro facility will replace the company’s smelter in Monaca, Pa. The company has started to reduce supply orders and allowed staff to decrease as employees leave in anticipation of the site’s closure at the end of the year, the company said.


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