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Lead Sinkers

Last U.S. Lead Smelter to Close, Ammunition & Fishing Manufacturing to Feel Effects

NRA-ILA

NRA – ILA

Charlotte, NC --(Ammoland.com)- In December, the final primary lead smelter in the United States will close.  The lead smelter, located in Herculaneum, Missouri, and owned and operated by the Doe Run Company, has existed in the same location since 1892.

The Herculaneum smelter is currently the only smelter in the United States which can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore that is mined nearby in Missouri’s extensive lead deposits, giving the smelter its “primary” designation.  The lead bullion produced in Herculaneum is then sold to lead product producers, including ammunition manufactures for use in conventional ammunition components such as projectiles, projectile cores, and primers.  Several “secondary” smelters, where lead is recycled from products such as lead acid batteries or spent ammunition components, still operate in the United States.

Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard.  Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition.  Just this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will ban lead ammunition for all hunting in California.  The Center for Biological Diversity has tried multiple times to get similar regulations at the federal level by trying, and repeatedly failing, to get the EPA to regulate conventional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

At this time, it’s unclear if Doe Run or another company will open a new lead smelter in the United States that can meet the more stringent lead air quality standards by using more modern smelting methods.

What is clear is that after the Herculaneum smelter closes its doors in December, entirely domestic manufacture of conventional ammunition, from raw ore to finished cartridge, will be impossible.

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

  • 26 User comments to “Last U.S. Lead Smelter to Close, Ammunition Manufacturing to Feel Effects”

    1. It appears the lead that is mined in that area will be sent to China for the smelting process and then shipped back to the U.S. I think it’s fair to assume that products that contain lead such as bullets, batteries, etc. will increase in cost. Again, we will be at the mercy of another country for yet another product will need and use.

      How amusing it is to watch all of the collective body of people in this country who work tirelessly to cripple America’s industry to the point of extinction, but still buy the products they have flushed over to China to be made and in their simple little minds cannot comprehend that the air in that country which has virtually no emission controls, manages to circulate in about 5 days across this country.

      “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”. author unknown

    2. So much for National Security Interests when it comes to the EPA.

    3. Well this is going to be an interesting thing. Not having bullets available is going to hurt law enforcement, the military, the private shooter the list goes on. The military, according to the Constitution, can not use anything that is not manufactured in the U S. Looks like DHS will have to give up a few billion rounds of ammo.

    4. NAW the AdamHenrys running the EPA and this administration will just issue a proclamation exempting the gov’ment for that requirement (See health care for the congress and Obummers business friends)

    5. The government won’t run out of ammo – didn’t they just corner the market on most of it over the past two years? More than enough to do away with most of us if they wanted… or China told them to do it…

    6. Is this another way that Obama is in-directly infringing on the People’s Constitutional Rights?

      Just like when Obama ordered all once fired military brass be destroyed and sold for scrap metal rather than selling it to ammunition companies to reload.

    7. This is just what they want, They are thinking that with out the lead for ammo they will be able to take over without any problems. Just watch what happens in the next year with this country you can expect that there will be some big changes coming down the pike. This administration has already destroyed or at the very least caused major damage to the countries manufacturing plants and other areas as well. They are thinking that with no more access to the ammo that we need there will no more problems such as mass shootings but then the criminals will just use other weapons to do their work. Better get it while you can and stock up if you are able to. The cost of ammo is about to go way up.

    8. The US military has enormous stockpiles of lead on selected military reservations around the country. The Military and the obama civilian army will have all the lead they need.

    9. The politicians in Washington are wizards of social engineering. There are no unintended consequences to their actions. Until we remove these statists from office, the myriad government edicts and regulations will fulfill Obama’s promise to “Fundamentally Change America”. We need a repeat of the grass roots activism that happened in 2010.

    10. I AM COUNTING THE DAYS WHEN THIS WANT TO BE DICTATOR IS OUT OF HERE AND I NEVER HAVE TO HEAR HIS NAME AGAIN, UNLESS IT IS HIM GOING TO COURT.

    11. Berry J Griffin on October 31, 2013 at 5:20 PM said:

      This lead plant has been under fire for a long time. It is an old operation, with old technology, that is not very clean. The company wants to build a new plant and continue operations. The question is where.

      “In early 2007, the EPA found high concentrations of lead in dust collected on roads near Doe Run’s Herculaneum smelter; trucks leaving mines in Reynolds, Iron and Dent counties have at times been coated with lead. Spills of lead ore and concentrate also have occurred in the mining district and have not always been cleaned to acceptable levels, the EPA said.

      Tests conducted last year of 372 properties within a mile of the Herculaneum lead smelter found 129 properties contained lead at levels beyond the EPA’s allowable limit of 400 parts per million. Of those, 104 properties had already undergone EPA-ordered soil remediation in the last nine years.”

    12. Patrick henry on November 1, 2013 at 12:30 AM said:

      Once again people this hitler wannabe is finding yet another insidious way to cripple Americas economy piece by piece, I to wonder what Germany would have been like if hitler was kicked out in 39or40 hopefully we can wake up enough people to rid our great country of this tyrant in our midst before he ruins America forever!!! His dream is to ruin America or destroy us by any means possible. We need to get rid of him before he do anything else to destroy America!!!

    13. Don’t buy into the panic ..its actually CHEAPER to send the lead off to be smelted outside of the country in facilities that do not have to meet strict EPA standards and then import the finished product ..not to mention there are at least 4 other lead smelting facilities left in the united states that have no plan on closing anytime soon…so PLEASE do a little research before you go into Panic mode and empty the store shelves …

    14. I think it’s hard for the over 40 crowd to realize, it’s up to us. We aren’t organized, we didn’t lobby effectively, we don’t know how to kick in. But the citizens below us in age are further removed from the concept ” now or never”.

    15. […] to wait for further developments and data to comment on this, but such may not be forthcoming.  AmmoLand and many other venues reported on […]

    16. Sierra Bullets has this to say about the smelter closing; We have had many customers contact us about the closing of the last primary lead smelting facility in the USA. This facility is operated by Doe Run and is located in Herculaneum, MO and is just about a 3 hour drive from our facility in Sedalia, MO.

      The main question asked is “Will this shut down your supply of lead.” The answer to that is no. First, Sierra buys lead from several different vendors to maintain constant supply. Second, this facility only smelts primary lead or lead ore. This is lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.

      The facility we buy from is still going strong and delivering to us as scheduled. The lead from this facility is from recycled lead, mostly coming from car batteries. This is a continuing “in and out” cycle for them and the smelter closing will not affect this facility.

      Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time.

    17. John F Kellmer on November 5, 2013 at 6:07 PM said:

      Herculaneum Smelters could meet current EPA standards if permitted to build the new facility they would like to, BUT the EPA is making those standards 19X more stringent – for no plausible scientific reason, but only because they can. You can bet that they are doing it only for the purpose of accruing power unto themselves and this administration, much in the same manner that they were able – for no plausible scientific reason – to get CO2 declared to be a pollutant. Power is what they are after, and we peons are the object of that oppression. Soon we’ll all be taught to “Heil, Obama!” It’s a disgusting and fraudulent process to watch but the power-mad fools don’t care about truth, scientific or other wise.

    18. EPA regs issued in 2008. Bush was president. Not saying this is good policy, but let’s get the facts straight.

    19. Well I guess we will have to resort to stealing lead wheel weights off parked cars, and melt them down for bullets. Expect to see cars swerving around, tires wobbling and bouncing high in the air, as lead balancing weights for automotive tires go to private ammo smelters, of which I have three.

      Stupid Obama, being the lame brained that he is, doesn’t fathom the inventiveness of the average high school graduate with a vision. I’ve seen drive shaft cannons powered by natural gas that can put an Alpo can full of cement right through a police car, in one end, and out the other. Good luck Obammy, you’ll need it.

    20. So many of you are showing how IGNORANT you are. How can you possibly blame Obama? Look up and do some research as to who started this whole lead thing.

    21. […] The Herculaneum smelter was the last primary lead smelter in the U.S., though many secondary plants recycle lead from products such as lead acid batters or spent ammunition components, the NRA-ILA reported. […]

    22. […] last October, I provided readers with a link to a story posted on Ammoland website. The article …read […]

    23. All; If you haven’t heard please check out “Operation America Spring” on the web. Starts May 16th, 2014.

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