Doe Run to expand lead mining development

Doe Run, which mines and produces lead and also recycles lead-acid batteries, announced on August 22 that rising lead prices had prompted a decision to develop its lead mining development.

“For much of 2016, Doe Run continued to face challenges from depressed lead prices, regulatory capital spending requirements and other regulatory uncertainty,” said president and CEO Jerry Pyatt. “Despite this period of uncertainty, we continued important process and equipment improvements so that we could be ready to capitalize on a lead price rebound.

“Fortunately, lead prices have recently improved, and we are in a position to increase mine development this year to help meet global demand for our lead, copper and zinc concentrates.

“Doe Run is increasing its mine development efforts to be more in line with development activity prior to the most recent downturn in lead prices,” said a company statement. “Doe Run had previously constricted mine development in the Viburnum Trend in response to the lower lead prices seen in 2015 and 2016, as well as in response to other business needs. Many of those needs have been met, enabling the company to adjust its mine development to present economic conditions. As one might expect, it will take some time before our expanded mine development yields increased lead, zinc and copper output.”

Under the name Resource Recycling, Doe Run says it processes up to 210,000 tonnes of lead-bearing materials a year, which includes 13.5 million batteries.

Among Doe Run’s upgrades are safety measures to reduce workforce exposure rates, a multi-million dollar update to its lead-acid battery recycling facility in Missouri, the completion of two new water treatment plants and $71 million on environmental spending in 2016.

Doe Run, which is based in St Louis, US, is a private natural resources company and a global provider of lead, copper and zinc concentrates.

It operates six mines in southeast Missouri, where lead is mined and milled into lead concentrate.

Doe Run estimates that more than 80% of lead consumption is taken up by batteries.