Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Lead Smelter Closing

  1. #1
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    194

    Lead Smelter Closing

    I wasn't sure which forum to post this in, so I chose reloading. I'm just curious to know how you guys think the closing of the lead smelter is going to impact the prices and availability of ammo. I just heard about this today from a friend and he says we should expect a major ammo shortage (as if it's not bad enough already) in the near future. For those who haven't heard about it, the last lead smelter in the US, located in Herculaneum, Missouri, just closed down last week due to EPA regulations that would have required the company to spend $100 million to come into compliance. From what I have gathered, our only source for lead will now be China and all of our scrap lead will have to be shipped there for smeltering. The result should be a huge increase in the price of lead as well as a possible shortage. Any thoughts from you guys on how this will play out in terms of ammo availability and prices?

  2. #2
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Thomasville, GA USA
    Posts
    695
    I hadn't heard that, will have to read up on it. If Walmart can sell a cotton shirt for $3 that the cotton was grown here, shipped to China, woven then shipped back, I think there shouldn't be much if any price increase. In fact, I'm not familiar with the smelter at all but if it was a union organization, the price could go down. Sucks to loose more jobs though

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Gunny Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    3,032
    GrantA may have nailed it. My old college professor friend recently purchased an 80 pound plastic sacked bag of large gravel from Home Depot in College
    Station, Texas. Dug, washed, graded, packaged and shipped from China to the US, and transported to College Station, Texas; unloaded, priced, placed on display and out the door, it sold (on special...but probably not at a loss) for 68 cents. Container ships rock.(pun intended)
    N.R.A. Life Member. If you aren't, you should be.

  4. #4
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Thomasville, GA USA
    Posts
    695
    Rough math- assuming the processing costs are the same, just shopping added to the mix. 50,000 lbs of lead would equate to about 20,000 boxes of 100 175gr bullets. If they spent $6,000 round trip on freight (40 ft container) that works out to $0.30 per box.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Thomasville, GA USA
    Posts
    695
    Here's where it could get interesting though. Currently refined lead has a duty rate of 2.5% which would also have to ultimately be absorbed by the end user. Guess who can change that rate? Time will tell
    What should happen, if there is not a domestic source for refined lead, is that the duty rate should go to zero. material that is available in the us carries a higher duty rate, typically, which makes it expensive to import.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
    Last edited by GrantA; 10-23-2013 at 08:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Sergeant
    Follows
    3
    Following
    0
    ksthomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Sedalia. MO
    Posts
    952
    Oh, this'll have an impact alright. Doe Run is where several of our domestic bullet makers (including one right down the road from me) gets their lead and alloys. In addition to the outright costs related to shipping, there will also be added lead times on orders and shipments. And, being from China now, no doubt there'll be some serious quality issues as well; impurities, alloy content fluctuations or not meeting order specs and other fun stuff.

    I won't mention anything about the assumption that whatever price increases do occur, will be passed on to the consumer without some additional "inflation" after the fact. In any case, this doesn't bode well for US bullet production.
    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA
    (660) 826-3232
    kthomas@nammoinc.com

  7. #7
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    194
    I hope you guys are right about the price going down and no interruption in supply, but the points that ksthomas brings up are concerning. Especially concerning are the quality control issues. I don't want to start getting inferior bullets due to the Chinese being unable to maintain quality. I guess it's a good thing I use a lot of foreign made bullets!

    One article I read did mention the fact that major US ammo manufactures are intentionally located in close proximity to this smelter simply because the convenience factor for having a ready source of materials nearby keeps the costs of ammo down. I'm hoping for the best, but it does appear that there may be a very real impact to shooters in the end.

  8. #8
    Sergeant
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    408
    If you Google the subject you will see there are many secondary lead factories in the U.S. where lead products are made. Yes it is a shame the last lead smelting plant is shutting down but this is where the raw ore was made into lead. We will always have lead for car battery's, lead shielding, lead wire for solder,etc.

    If you stay up late and watch the commercials it would appear more people are concerned with E.D. and lead in their pencil than the closure of the last lead smelting plant in the U.S.
    (key word USA, and Canada is still smelting lead in modern plants)

    Welcome to General Smelting Company of Canada

    Founded in 1955, General Smelting of Canada, a division of Xstrata Zinc Canada, is one of the most established zinc lead and tin smelters in North America. Located in Lachine, a borough of Montréal, the plant distributes metal products on the North American market, in particular Eastern Canada and US. We also offer specialized services in recycling and industrial construction, as well as maintenance services for equipment used in sulfuric acid plants worldwide.
    Home
    Last edited by bigedp51; 10-23-2013 at 11:41 AM.