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Doe Run prepares for smelter closure

Keywords: Tags  Doe Run, lead, Jose Hansen, herculaneum, Andra Hotter

LONDON — Lead producer Doe Run Co. is in the process of allocating its concentrates production into a variety of global markets as the company moves out of the primary smelting business, a company executive said.

Jose Hansen, vice president of sales and marketing, told AMM that Doe Run’s lead concentrate exports would total between 220,000 and 230,000 tonnes per year.

"We’re moving from the primary metal business into the lead concentrates business as we’re going to be shutting down our primary smelter, Herculaneum, on Dec. 31," he said. "The very low level of impurities in our concentrates means our material is excellent for blending purposes. Normally you need a regular feed into your furnace and this allows us to balance any complex material you may have."

The St. Louis-based company’s Herculaneum smelter in Missouri is being replaced with newer, more environmentally friendly technology.

Doe Run plans to continue to operate the refinery and alloys area of the plant to service its customers. "This will allow us to upgrade the purity of some secondary lead metal and obviously produce the alloys our customers need," Hansen said.

The company is still working to evaluate the possibility of a commercial plant with a demonstration plant project that is processing material from other mines in the United States as well as externally. "It’s an ongoing process; we expect some information soon. Hopefully in the balance of this year we’ll know more," Hansen said.

Doe Run also is continuing to explore potential expansions via new reserves at its own mines as well as at some resources outside Missouri. "It’s really exciting for us to see and evaluate opportunities. You’ll hear more about that in the future," he said.

Hansen didn’t rule out acquisitions—"we’re always open to look at business opportunities"—and said that new applications, particularly in advanced battery technology, mean that the future of lead is very positive.

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