Doe Run to shut Herculaneum lead plant at 2013 end

NEW YORK, June 29 (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.