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

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

Charlotte, NC –-( 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.

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:

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I have been buying 22 shells for .05 a shell, while the day of the $10 brick is gone, you just have to be patient and buy at the discounted rate.

Robert Allen

Karen! I am glad you do not live in America…I
agree with you…. This will be one less problem
for us “true Americans”…. If you call this
bad comments…then you do not believe in the
truth and believe in lies…. We true Americans
are with our “Founding Fathers” and a lot of blood
has and still being shed for our great America…the sad part is this…our Soldier’s shed their blood for “ALL”…even the “dirtbags”, along with our sewage…. Cindy Allen

Robert Allen

I am not surprised! We true Americans do not
have a America anymore…. Obama and his clan
have almost destroyed us…. God is our only
hope…he will be our ammunition…. Obama
can not close God down…. GOD’s ammunition is
“fire and brimstone”…hell…. Thank you
for your hard work and the legacy that you leave behind…. I would like to know how many
employees you have at the present time….
EKD You are a “liar” and the likes of Obama….
You are either “crazy or stupid”…I figure
both…you are also a OBK… Cindy Allen


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


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.

Joe Mama



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… Read more »


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

John F Kellmer

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… Read more »


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… Read more »


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”.


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 …

Patrick henry

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!!!

Berry J Griffin

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.… Read more »




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.


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.


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… Read more »


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.


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…


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)


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.


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


It’s not about national security it’s about government control Obama allowed the EPA to be in control ,to take control of the ammo. Without a MO you can’t fight the government. Look what happened to the 22caliber ammo you can’t hardly find it because homeland security purchased 200million rounds . That’s all a government plane for civil unrest . That way they have the means to kill their own people.


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… Read more »