Closure of Doe Run Lead Smelter -- Firearms Context


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MEHavey
October 25, 2013, 04:44 PM
Another thread on the DOE RUN (http://www.doerun.com/) lead smelter closure (EPA-induced) was closed due to
the thread not having a firearms context.

Rather than EPA bashing, my first question upon reading was to consider "...where
do/will bullet metal suppliers like RotoMetals (http://www.rotometals.com) get their resources now...."

Any thoughts from those who might know...?

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Midwest
October 25, 2013, 05:27 PM
I thought that other post about Doe Run could be firearm related because bullets contain lead and with that plant closing, I was thinking the same thing you were and that is where are manufacturers going to get lead from?

If Doe Run was the last supplier of lead in the U.S., that means the manufacturers would have to import it. And given the political climate of today, what would happen if the govt started restricting imports of lead? We still have a ammo shortage yet...nearly a year later.

If you get a chance to see "Modern Models" on LEAD, they show the Doe Run plant.

http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2008/06/09/daily11.html

MErl
October 25, 2013, 06:19 PM
Probably not on topic for legal but there is a general firearm concern.

Industries, bullets included, will have to source from out of country. Lead is a global market, I'm not too concerned about price changes. If we hear talk about increasing tariffs to account for hidden costs we should be concerned but absent that, non issue.

Nwflycaster
October 25, 2013, 07:24 PM
Within my company we will use roughly a million pounds of lead annually. Very little came from Doe Run, I would venture a guess of maybe 40 - 50,000 pounds. The rest was all imported, mostly from Canada. I don't foresee any changes or difficulties in any lead purchases. Pretty much all metals these days are overvalued on the LME. I don't know Roto's pricing but We are all pretty much paying the same thing for raw materials (we being secondary foundries), which these days is LME plus a roving premium. Doe Run lead was actually more expensive than the imported stuff.

22-rimfire
October 25, 2013, 07:38 PM
Where is the Doe Run smelter?

Midwest
October 25, 2013, 08:54 PM
Herculaneum, Missouri

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doe_Run_Company

hso
October 25, 2013, 08:55 PM
The reporting on this is "incomplete".

The facility Doe Run is shutting down is a primary smelter used for processing ore. Almost all the lead used in the US, and in firearms use, comes from secondary smelting of recycled lead. That's carried out in several places, including one owned by them. This company is closing the old facility that processed ore and still operates the secondary smelting operations. They're not the only secondary smelter in the U.S. so the hyperbole is misleading.

mold maker
October 26, 2013, 02:58 PM
There will still be lead produced in the US, but it's a secondairy byproduct from mining other metals. The recycleing of current inventory is being depleted by one time use. Current prices should remain stable for at least another year, and beyond that, will be determined by China and Mexico who are already the worlds largest producers of virgin lead.
As casters, we will have to adapt, to many of the traditional sources of lead dissappearing.

Common past sources like wheel weights, lead pipe (water and electrical shielding), roof jacks, and shower pans are being replaced by non traditional materials, and modern technology.
One of the few sources that may remain is XRay shielding.

JTHunter
October 26, 2013, 11:54 PM
Try checking with hospitals or cancer treatment facilities. Much of the medicines they get for cancer treatments, thallium stress testing, etc. come in vials in lead shielding.
If it a particularly high level product, it will be in a shield made of decayed uranium which is denser and more radiation resistant than lead.
(I used to work for Mallinkrodt Nuclear Medicine - now Tyco Healthcare - in Maryland Heights, MO.)

jerkface11
October 27, 2013, 09:46 AM
If it a particularly high level product, it will be in a shield made of decayed uranium
How difficult is that to cast into bullets?

barnbwt
October 27, 2013, 12:40 PM
Containment vessels and materials aren't themselves considered low-grade radioactive waste?

Metallic Uranium melts around 2000deg or so; in the same ballpark as steel. Tungsten's the bad one (6000deg :eek:)

Smelting is a highly competitive industry; lead/heavy metal smelting is fraught with danger (it's not just the EPA being weenies; it truly is both difficult and expensive to extract these compounds from ore safely), and a well-run facility can never compete on cost with foreign installations with no compunctions about pollution or safety. I imagine there aren't many Cadmium or Arsenic ore processing facilities in the States, either, but that China has a lock on the market ;). Recycling is much the same, but at least there the total cost of the process is low enough that there is less of a competitive disadvantage to do it the right way (as opposed to burning circuits down to recyclable metals).

TCB

22-rimfire
October 27, 2013, 04:18 PM
Containment vessels and materials aren't themselves considered low-grade radioactive waste?

It is a chicken and egg argument. I have never heard of radioactive wastes being intentionally taken out of the storage container.

suemarkp
October 27, 2013, 06:10 PM
This seems like an issue from even a strategic metals point of view. The government used to make sure we had the infrastructure for strategic materials sources.

If we ever end up in a world war again, we may be at a major disadvantage if it goes on for a while. Or perhaps, if it does go on they will start up all these long closed ore processing facilities again, assuming they can find anyone remaining who knows how to do it.

rodregier
October 27, 2013, 09:47 PM
In the next real war we'll have to turn in our car batteries to have them melted into bullets :-)

Biggest single consumer of lead these days is batteries. Unlike projectiles, most of that can be readily recycled at end of life. (They get returned in large convenient containers). Saw a segment of "How it's Made" on car battery recycling. Very impressive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH_HKeS1Ed4

barnbwt
October 27, 2013, 10:41 PM
The government used to make sure we had the infrastructure for strategic materials sources.

I seriously doubt we're thinking that far ahead at the highest levels these days :rolleyes:. I'd also be far more worried about our utter dependence on foreign aluminum and steel before lead comes into play.

"In the next real war we'll have to turn in our car batteries to have them melted into bullets"
Lithium bullets? Sounds messy :D ;)

TCB

Rule3
October 28, 2013, 11:41 PM
Per this article the last lead smelter in the USA is closing due to failure to meet Govt air regulations.

It is located in Missouri. Is this where MBC gets it's lead??

http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2013/10/end-of-an-era-last-us-lead-smelter-to-close-in-december.aspx

KansasSasquatch
October 29, 2013, 01:48 AM
70% of US domestic lead comes from Missouri's "Lead Belt." I imagine MBC gets their lead from them either directly or indirectly. From what I've already read it doesn't seem like this is going to stop the mining of lead, but it will put a hitch in the initial smelting of the ore.

And before this all gets dumped on Obama (not that I like him, quite the opposite) the company has been having trouble keeping up with US EPA and MO DNR requirements since at least 2003.

RealGun
October 29, 2013, 08:05 AM
2012 story with an upcoming closing date.

wyofool
October 29, 2013, 08:09 AM
So where will the bullets come from? http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/

Pilot
October 29, 2013, 08:09 AM
70% of US domestic lead comes from Missouri's "Lead Belt." I imagine MBC gets their lead from them either directly or indirectly. From what I've already read it doesn't seem like this is going to stop the mining of lead, but it will put a hitch in the initial smelting of the ore.

And before this all gets dumped on Obama (not that I like him, quite the opposite) the company has been having trouble keeping up with US EPA and MO DNR requirements since at least 2003.
Like the coal industry, and energy industry that uses fossil fuel, EPA regs have probably become much stricter over the last five years for the lead smelting industry. If they had been having problems since 03, this was probably the nail in the coffin.

I wonder where most of the lead used in bullets comes from?

Mp7
October 29, 2013, 08:56 AM
Uhm ... from a lead smelter who upgrades hies 1930's technology
to modern standards and fills the gap?

;)

(seriously i dont get this obsessivenes with being anti-eco)

Steel Horse Rider
October 29, 2013, 09:27 AM
Probably because you are not directly impacted by the obsessiveness of the EPA and their toadies. If you were, you might acknowledge that there are prudent measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those who live near of work in facilities that deal with potentially hazardous materials without killing the goose, so to speak.

hso
October 29, 2013, 09:40 AM
You folks seem to be ignoring that this is a primary ore smelter closing and not a secondary recycling smelter. The overwhelming majority of lead in the U.S. is processed by secondary smelters recycling lead.

For those condemning the closure of this primary smelter you may want to look deeper into the harm it might have done to the community and ask why you would choose to defend a business that has been demonstrated to have caused problems for the health of the people around it. Are your interests more important than their health?

Mp7
October 29, 2013, 09:50 AM
having grown up in europes industrial center, when the chimneys were still doing overtime ... i fully know what i talk about.

In the last 20yrs, the output of dangerous stuff has been reduced by like 95%.
And boy ... i do like to walk around the city, seeing birds, breathing fresh air,
and not seeing sick children.


Just because "the political opponent" does something, it is not necessarily bad.
Think for yourself. ( And turn off FOX)

dogtown tom
October 29, 2013, 09:58 AM
You folks seem to be ignoring that this is a primary ore smelter closing and not a secondary recycling smelter. The overwhelming majority of lead in the U.S. is processed by secondary smelters recycling lead.

For those condemning the closure of this primary smelter you may want to look deeper into the harm it might have done to the community and ask why you would choose to defend a business that has been demonstrated to have caused problems for the health of the people around it. Are your interests more important than their health?
Don't bring facts into a good conspiracy thread!:evil:

Tirod
October 29, 2013, 10:29 AM
The EPA saddled it with enough new requirements that it isn't economically justifiable. They also do the lead recycling thing there, too.

Living in the lead mining belt, I'm very aware of how the stuff gets spread around. We still have major projects ongoing to recover land and get streams cleaned up from the lead and zinc mining from over 100 years ago. To this day there are open shafts dropping hundreds of feet past the water table. And plenty of stolen cars dumped into them. It adds to the contamination of the aquifer - don't need to have oil, gas, and sulphuric acid added to our drinking water, do we?

Along with the change at Doe Run, another impact is that the Army has gone to a lead free projectile. Since they pretty much consider penetration to be important, a brass jacketed steel core gets the job done, and the loss of lead becomes a major cleanup for the plant making them. No more testing blood levels for lead.

Check the lead acid battery factories to see what they have had to include in safety and environmental protection, then consider why battery prices have increased 125% in ten years.

One thing lead doesn't cause is the destruction of as much of the environment as gold. It doesn't pay as well. Gold mining in Australia runs a fleet of 240 ton dump trucks 24/7, each hauling about an ounce of gold in the ore. It takes a whole lot of strip mining to get that kind of production. With lead, we tunneled for it after the richest ores, and left a much smaller footprint. It's about economy of scale.

Closing down the last ore smelter in America is also about being able to get it cheaper overseas. Although I don't like the security aspect of that, it's not like we don't recycle lead. Our state requires a $15 core charge to keep your old battery, for which few people have any use. That means about 95% of the used batteries go back into the recycling of lead, which really cuts down on the overall cost compared to refining the ores.

Most of our lead ammunition has been made from recycled lead for decades. Many of the bullets we shoot have a lot less lead in them, and there are more on the market every day that are solid gilding metal. The days of the big lead bullet is passing for most pistols and rifles, shotgun owners have seen lead dropped from loads, and slug shooters can get bronze projectiles. It hasn't cut the harvest rates in season to my knowledge, game management and environment still play the key roles.

Lead isn't that big a player in firearms anymore.

Rule3
October 29, 2013, 10:54 AM
My concern is (from the article)

"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".

Hard to imagine it is the only smelter in the US??

EDIT:

Sent an E Mail to Brad at MBC. He stated this will not have any affect on his business as they get lead from another place. He has a comment on Facebook but I do not mess with that.

Dain Bramage
October 29, 2013, 11:31 AM
Just because "the political opponent" does something, it is not necessarily bad.
Think for yourself. ( And turn off FOX)

Because nothing says "think for yourself" like MSNBC and CNN.

So, did the EPA tightening the lead regulations 10 times have the desired result? Did lead exposure for workers drop by 9/10th's, or did the plant shut down? Now lead production is in the hands of countries without our regulations, and their workers probably get exposed to much higher levels than even the old EPA regs. Or, do you only care about American workers?

Maybe you environmental cheerleaders out to rethink driving an entire industry out of this country.

PJSprog
October 29, 2013, 02:47 PM
Living in the St. Louis area, I can tell you that Doe Run and their alleged contamination has been in and out of the news cycle here for the better part of 20 years. I also used to drive through there a couple times a year when traveling to and from canoeing trips on the Black River, and there's not much left in that area beyond a few abandoned homes these days.

hso
October 29, 2013, 02:54 PM
People are also neglecting that Doe Run owns mining/primary smelting operations outside the U.S. and that the total supply won't be impacted.

Doe Run elected not to refurbish the existing facility or to build a proposed modern one. They're simply going to move supplies into the U.S. from their offshore mining/smelting ops that are cheaper for them.

Rule3
October 29, 2013, 03:30 PM
Another update from Brad at MBC.

He states that very little lead in this Country comes from pure virgin lead deposits. Most of it is from recycled sources (batteries) So the amount of lead produced by the company in the article is little to none as far as bullet production.

hso
October 29, 2013, 03:55 PM
That makes sense since the technical spec for purity for bullet lead wouldn't be as stringent as batteries or technical applications.

Yet again another case of too little light (information) and too much heat and smoke when people get all excited without the full background being known.

wow6599
October 29, 2013, 04:17 PM
I grew-up in Desloge, MO......a big part of the old Lead Belt. That area still has some mining going on, mainly to the west.

Go to the production area of this Wiki page and you will see some answers.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_Belt

mooner
October 29, 2013, 04:34 PM
Lead isn't that big a player in firearms anymore

Try to be a small time guy in any of the shooting sports shooting gilding metals. Even if YOU do not participate, many of the newcomers to firearms are turning to shooting sports. If we wish to keep growing the number of shooters and gun owners in this country we need these people.

Although it appears that this plant will not have much of an effect on lead bullet supply, I don't read any of the above comments as unreasonably jumping to conclusions in the current environment. A quick look west to California's newest anti-hunting and anti-gun regulations will show you where we are headed if we are not somewhat guarded and suspicious of things like this.

hso
October 29, 2013, 05:33 PM
Guarded and suspicious are good, but we look foolish when we throw that to the wind and swallow bilge spewed at us in the name of a threat to the 2A. When people cry wolf at something so easily debunked (The standards Doe Run can't meet are from the Bush EPA) we can end up letting real threats drift by after we get tired of being stirred up over nothing over and over again.

tipoc
October 29, 2013, 09:21 PM
Apparently Doe Run made the decision back in 2008.

According to the NRA;

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.

It made the decision based on new standards passed under the Bush administration.

http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2013/10/end-of-an-era-last-us-lead-smelter-to-close-in-december.aspx

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.

But there is also no indication that this will make any significant difference in the production of ammunition or any other product where lead is used. Sources for lead are still abundant. Business in the U.S. have readily shown that if they can manufacture a product overseas more profitably to them than doing so here they will do it.

I doubt Olin, or the Freedom group, or the other major players will be hurting for lead. If they do begin to hurt, smelters will pop up or lead will be imported.

tipoc

orionengnr
October 29, 2013, 10:13 PM
So, did the EPA tightening the lead regulations 10 times have the desired result? Did lead exposure for workers drop by 9/10th's, or did the plant shut down? Now lead production is in the hands of countries without our regulations, and their workers probably get exposed to much higher levels than even the old EPA regs. Or, do you only care about American workers?

Maybe you environmental cheerleaders out to rethink driving an entire industry out of this country.
Nope...they will keep on keepin' on. Next is nuclear, then coal, and then petroleum.
They won't be happy until we are huddled around a single (wind-powered) candle in our caves.

:)...but just barely.

Steel Horse Rider
October 29, 2013, 10:17 PM
HSO: I don't deal in speculation, I like to stay in the factual realm. (I noticed you didn't spout facts about the hazards, you merely said "might") I have spent a bit of time in and around Leadville, Colorado and while the remnants of the mining boom are not scenic in appearance, history will show that both humanity and nature have both survived a period of no controls quite well. As to your point about Bush's EPA regulations, who was arguing that the government regulations under Bush Jr, Bush Sr. or going back to the originator of the EPA, Richard Nixon, were any better thought out or implemented? For a person who claims to want only factual discussion you seem to have a few problems yourself. That should get me kicked out of here. Moderators are never wrong.....

JTHunter
October 29, 2013, 10:44 PM
barnbwt aksed:Containment vessels and materials aren't themselves considered low-grade radioactive waste?

When working a Mallikrodt, we were told that, due to the density of the DU, it could be washed out. It was not used for waste but for high level testing or treatment products. Those products were in sealed medical vials in liquid form and, while there might be an occassional broken vial, those meds half-lives were so short (days at most) that we just had to dispose of the broken contents and wash out the inside of the shield multiple time.
The DU itself wasn't considered "low-grade waste" as it was used as shielding for high-level products and didn't absorb their radiation.

The trick to using that for casting is to remember that, grain for grain, it is heavier than lead and a DU bullet of the same weight as a lead bullet will be physically smaller. Another way to look at it - if you make two .38 cal. bullets, one lead, one DU, the DU will be several grains heavier (don't know exactly how much).

alsaqr
October 30, 2013, 08:55 AM
The trick to using that for casting is to remember that, grain for grain, it is heavier than lead and a DU bullet of the same weight as a lead bullet will be physically smaller. Another way to look at it - if you make two .38 cal. bullets, one lead, one DU, the DU will be several grains heavier (don't know exactly how much).

DU in small arms bullets will never catch on: The stuff is pyrophoric:

In addition to its penetrating capability DU is a natural pyrophoric material which enhances the incendiary effects

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/pgu-14.htm


BTW: Lead wheel weights have been banned several states including: CA, IL, ME, NY, VT, WA. All new vehicles have wheel weights made from zinc or steel. My 2011 Toyota pickup has zinc wheel weights.

Pilot
October 30, 2013, 09:06 AM
having grown up in europes industrial center, when the chimneys were still doing overtime ... i fully know what i talk about.

In the last 20yrs, the output of dangerous stuff has been reduced by like 95%.
And boy ... i do like to walk around the city, seeing birds, breathing fresh air,
and not seeing sick children.


Just because "the political opponent" does something, it is not necessarily bad.
Think for yourself. ( And turn off FOX)
Just because we don't want all industry, especially ones that affect the shooting sports driven off shore by OVER zealous environmental regs doesn't mean we want dirty air, and dirty water. That is right out of the lib/statist playbook.

I'll watch any news outlet I want, thank you very much. I love it when statists want to control what I watch, do, think, etc.

Tirod
October 30, 2013, 10:23 AM
Saying uncontrolled mining doesn't seem to hurt is easy when you don't live right in the middle of the results.

Can we apply the same logic to WWII? The Jewish people survived an era of no controls, so that's ok?

It's no different with the production of batteries for hybrid cars - the main plant in this hemisphere is in Canada, and there is a dead zone surrounding it for miles from the emissions. In reality, the EPA, et al, are creating the unintended consequence of spreading manufacture and contamination to other countries offshore, where they suffer for it. We then pay the immediate higher cost in transporting it to here, but's it's disguised as being cheaper when it hits the dock because the manufacturing cost there is less. Overall it looks like we are "saving" money, but it's a temporary respite. The market can and will change - it happens all the time with other commodity metals.

I have reservations about shutting down our only smelting site in the US, but I also have reservations about living in the waste. I played in it growing up, had it spread as backfill in my property, and had it remediated very poorly by the EPA who claimed all the local contamination was airborne. And there was a no choice situation given us - either allow the clean up or forever have your property title tainted with it being "unremediated." It's really the same thing as saying your house was painted with lead bearing paint. Ask those homeowners how they like paying for a hazmat team to clean up things just remodeling their house.

All the regulations - like the ones we see for indoor ranges - have a cause, and it is because lead IS toxic and dangerous to our health. What we might be asking is if the new regulations are common sense and will actually help, or it's like buffing the floors in a a hospital every night. Doesn't do a thing to stop the spread of MRSA.

hso
October 30, 2013, 11:54 AM
It would be better if we left the DU discussion for a different thread since it is an interesting and complicated topic all it's own.

space_cowboy
October 30, 2013, 01:41 PM
http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/28/end-of-an-era-last-u-s-lead-smelter-to-close-in-december/


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.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/28/end-of-an-era-last-u-s-lead-smelter-to-close-in-december/#ixzz2jEDalh9a

ArchAngelCD
October 30, 2013, 01:43 PM
We better hope we don't get into a large scale war any time in the future. Nothing we need to survive is made in the USA anymore.

Kernel
October 30, 2013, 02:01 PM
Future wars will be fought with lead free ammunition. To make it, you know.... SAFE.

Millwright
October 30, 2013, 07:24 PM
A lot of knowledgable folks also select virgin lead batteries for their vehicles/RV's . Just as do the tele-com folks and various critical care facilities across the nation. IOW this ain't just another "aw-shucks" EPA moment ! Its going to hurt ! Deeply ! (You likely just won't know about it - until its too late - and then your heirs will commiserate......! >MW

hso
October 30, 2013, 07:32 PM
A lot of knowledgable folks also select virgin lead batteries for their vehicles/RV's


"virgin lead" doesn't mean what you think it means. They're referring to pure lead as opposed to the typical alloy with a bit of antimony or cadmium or calcium commonly used for auto batteries. (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11837-001-0162-0) Ore lead has more impurities to be smelted out than recycled lead and the lead produced is ingot lead regardless of the source. Alloyed for different applications, it is returned to pure lead and the alloying materials from the recycled product worth recovering are also gathered.

If you have any information to the contrary it would be interesting to see.

748
October 30, 2013, 09:06 PM
Lead prices have curiously shot up 6% in the last month.

http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/lead_historical.html

shep854
October 30, 2013, 09:09 PM
This thread has been a gold mine (well, LEAD mine :D ) of information! THANKS for all the input!

barnbwt
October 30, 2013, 10:21 PM
"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"
Now, if they were shuttering the nearby mine, I might worry (even slightly) about the lead supply being affected. That it isn't tells me all I need to know. Fact is, lead (and all) metal smelting form ore is a nasty business; it's simply hard to do it cleanly enough to coexist with communities to the standards which we are accustomed (i.e. living next to a plant shouldn't have a measurable impact on your test readings --like it or not, that's the "acceptable standard" in our modern society). Foreign lands can do it dirtier, so they can do it cheaper, and they are willing to live (or not) with the consequences for the time being. We don't smelt our own lead from ore, we don't make much of the raw PVC we use for everything, either. Same reasons.

You guys complaining about how the "liberals" and whatnot are anti industry and want us in grass huts need to take a look at the Russian back country to see what government-driven industry will do in the hands of "leftists." People skim kerosene leaking from tanks and pipes from the surface of their water supplies, massive areas are blighted from all sorts of chemical (and nuclear) fallout from industrial facilities/disasters, and the Aral Sea is nearly dried after irrigation diversion, threatening to expose decades of discarded radioactive waste at the bottom. People seem to forget we allowed Lake Eerie to catch on fire, once :rolleyes:

"Future wars will be fought with lead free ammunition."
They already are; from a strategic perspective, massed enemies are humbled by precision guided munitions packing high explosives.

From Wiki: Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 A.D

I thought the name was familiar. For some reason I was thinking it was the name for elemental Mercury (I forgot the symbol was Hg). Should totally be the name for a tough or heavy metal, though :D

TCB

Mat, not doormat
October 31, 2013, 12:29 AM
I used to haul lead ingots out of both the primary smelter at Herculaneum, and the secondary one at Boss, MO. I'll tell you, the Herky plant was not a comfortable place to be. You know the sickly sweet taste you get in the back of your throat when you're shooting cast bullets, the one hat let's you know "Man, I just got a nice dose of lead for the day.". That's what every breath around Herky was like.

It's also comforting to be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, when the employees are on respirators. Supposedly, truckers were only there occasionally, and thus didn't need to be concerned. Of course, they didn't realize that many of us were regulars, and spent nearly as much time sitting in their lines and nailing down dunnage as their workers spent at work.

Anyhow, as an American and a shooter, would I prefer that they had upgraded or replaced Herky, rather than closing it? Yes. Am I going to cry that it is closed? No. The place was awful. Old and nearing decrepitude.

And that doesn't touch the fact that most lead used in this country comes from recycling, and not virgin ore. Most of those "vast lead deposits," in MO haven't been worked in years.

So closing a primary smelter doesn't mean the sky is falling, all you little chickens.

tipoc
October 31, 2013, 03:40 AM
If in 6 months we've run out of bullets and we go over to carbon fiber bullets I'll say "Darn it I shoulda listened to those fellas on THR and started a lead hysteria ammo buying spree!"

If in one year the U.S. military is buying all it's bullets from the French and has gone back to cross bows I'll say..."Darn it! I really shoulda listened to those fellas over to THR who said that all the lead smelters were closed and the Pentagon would be stripping the old lead paint off my house to melt it down for bullets!"

Now, just as ammo is becoming more available, I gotta run into this rumor which will send a batch of knuckleheads into another ammo buying hysteria!

Ah well...

tipoc

hso
October 31, 2013, 06:34 AM
Closure of the Doe Run smelter is all about business, and with the production exceeding consumption there's less need for lead and lower profits to be made (especially for primary smelters) - http://www.resourceinvestor.com/2013/09/19/lead-glut-diminishing-as-bear-market-shuts-smelter



http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/103113.jpg

And even the most pro-2A cartoonist out there is changing their story.

shep854
October 31, 2013, 07:42 AM
Agreed; kudos to Chris Muir (Daybyday cartoonist) for being willing to correct himself!

NukemJim
October 31, 2013, 08:10 AM
Much of the medicines they get for cancer treatments, thallium stress testing, etc. come in vials in lead shielding.

I work in this industry. While lead used to be readily available this is no longer the case.

Due to concerns about exposure to lead most containers now are completely enclosed in plastic and used many times. They are no longer one use items. Even the minority of lead containers that are not completely sealed in plastic (just painted or exposed when the container is open) and are one use items are to be returned to the supplier. Not sure what they do with them.

As for the the radiation concern, unless you are stealing them some way, it is not a concern. They will be A) checked for residual radioactivity multiple times prior to being let out of the "Controlled" area where they are stored and B) due to the short half life of the radionuclides involved the material is purposely held long enough that the amount of radiation being emitted is not higher than "Background"*.

Maybe one of the radiopharmacies (GE, Cardinal, Malinkrot) could be used as a source,I do not know that end of the business.

But unlikely your local hospital, cancer center will be able to help you any more.

NukemJim


(*There is always a very small amount or radiation present everywhere at all times. Think of it like background noise.)

StandingTall
October 31, 2013, 09:15 AM
For all of you thinking about hording vast amounts of bullets (again!)...here's this little tidbit from Sierra Bullet Company:

"Should not affect us at all. That (Herculaneum MO plant) is a ore smelting plant only and we do not use lead that came directly from ore. None of our lead came from that facility and the facilities we do use are still up and going strong. Thanks!"

We have enough problems getting ammunition and reloading components as it is without "doomsday preppers" freaking out again.

hso
October 31, 2013, 09:42 AM
One of the great things about THR is that when things like this spread across the errornet members can point out those errors, debate and discuss the points, and do so without flaming each other.

Nice to see DBD doing it on their own and that the ammunition and bullet manufacturers adding light to the issue.

tipoc
October 31, 2013, 12:40 PM
Lead can be mined and smelted safely for both the workers and the surrounding community. The same is also true of coal, uranium, mercury, and many other natural elements and minerals that are necessary for industry but which is some concentrations are harmful to human health. But to do this safely can cut into the owners profit margin so there is a tension in society about this issue. Lower costs and prices versus health and safety. The EPA regs could be nitpicky and overdone, but that's another discussion.

Doe Run is not "the last lead smelter". Others are up and operating. It is an old smelter that could no longer operate safely and still make money for it's owners. Steel mills have shut down for less. No conspiracy, business.

If there was a hint that the U.S. military and law enforcement would run out of lead for it's bullets that situation would change quickly.

If there was a danger posed to the U.S. metal mining and smelting industry posed by overzealous EPA regulators and liberal politicians you can be sure that that industry, many times over more powerful than the firearms industry, would make a few phone calls and visits and the situation would be rectified.

tipoc

alsaqr
October 31, 2013, 04:50 PM
The EPA/Doe Run settlement:

http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/mm/doerun.html

The lawsuit:

The trial is slated for July 2013. Two years will have passed since a jury ordered former owners of the Doe Run smelter to pay $358 million to 16 plaintiffs who said they suffered health effects from lead poisoning that the company knew existed.

That award was on top of a confidential settlement reached before the trial with the smelter's current owners, Doe Run Resources Corp.

The former owners have appealed the verdict.


http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/lawsuits-over-doe-run-lead-smelter-could-continue-for-years/article_415c0f78-03ee-5ed1-b533-75c1921ea038.html

BobTheTomato
October 31, 2013, 09:34 PM
One of the problems with this location is odds are the surrounding area is already heavily contaminated with lead from the 1900s time frame.

As I understand it, with China increasing their lead production lead prices are only around $1 per pound there just might not be money in it. On a side note I am curious about how much is recovered as a trace metal from other mining such as silver.

StandingTall
November 1, 2013, 10:45 AM
Sierra Bullets weighs in again:

http://sierrabullets.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/sierra-responds-how-will-the-closure-of-the-lead-smelting-plant-affect-sierra-bullets/

clutch
November 2, 2013, 07:53 AM
I used to haul lead ingots out of both the primary smelter at Herculaneum, and the secondary one at Boss, MO. I'll tell you, the Herky plant was not a comfortable place to be. You know the sickly sweet taste you get in the back of your throat when you're shooting cast bullets, the one hat let's you know "Man, I just got a nice dose of lead for the day.". That's what every breath around Herky was like.

I'm not doubting the Herky plant was a nasty place but do you really taste lead when you shoot cast bullets? :confused:

Pilot
December 2, 2013, 05:59 AM
Sierra Bullets weighs in again:

http://sierrabullets.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/sierra-responds-how-will-the-closure-of-the-lead-smelting-plant-affect-sierra-bullets/
While that article was positive about supply, these two lines jumped out at me.

Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time.

I am a businessman, and uncertainty creates price increases, and that reduces demand. What Sierra is saying here is that while supply of lead may not be affected short term, there is more uncertainty, and therefore risk in future production. More risk means higher prices. This is the intentions of the EPA, and Feds. To make the shooting sports more expensive, and therefore limit their use.

Torian
December 2, 2013, 06:53 AM
I used to haul lead ingots out of both the primary smelter at Herculaneum, and the secondary one at Boss, MO. I'll tell you, the Herky plant was not a comfortable place to be. You know the sickly sweet taste you get in the back of your throat when you're shooting cast bullets, the one hat let's you know "Man, I just got a nice dose of lead for the day.". That's what every breath around Herky was like.

It's also comforting to be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, when the employees are on respirators. Supposedly, truckers were only there occasionally, and thus didn't need to be concerned. Of course, they didn't realize that many of us were regulars, and spent nearly as much time sitting in their lines and nailing down dunnage as their workers spent at work.

Anyhow, as an American and a shooter, would I prefer that they had upgraded or replaced Herky, rather than closing it? Yes. Am I going to cry that it is closed? No. The place was awful. Old and nearing decrepitude.

And that doesn't touch the fact that most lead used in this country comes from recycling, and not virgin ore. Most of those "vast lead deposits," in MO haven't been worked in years.

So closing a primary smelter doesn't mean the sky is falling, all you little chickens.
No, I've never had that "sweet taste" in the back of my mouth from being around molten lead.

I will be taking your word for it :)

PRM
December 2, 2013, 08:31 AM
No, I've never had that "sweet taste" in the back of my mouth from being around molten lead.


I have never experienced that either??? I did eat a Hershey's bar in my truck one time while driving to the range.:what:

tipoc
December 2, 2013, 12:16 PM
What Sierra is saying here is that while supply of lead may not be affected short term, there is more uncertainty, and therefore risk in future production.

Sierra did not say that. Quite the opposite. They stated that the supply of lead for their bullets comes from recycled lead and not from primary sourced lead. They did not speculate on the future price of lead. You did though.

More risk means higher prices. This is the intentions of the EPA, and Feds. To make the shooting sports more expensive, and therefore limit their use.

The closure of the Mo. smelter does not directly effect the price of lead for bullets or the price of bullets. No bullet manufacturers used lead from that plant that I am aware of. Sierra did not, nor Barnes. Your contention that the plant was closed primarily or even partly to limit the supply of lead and thus drive up the price to make it harder for shooters to afford ammo has no facts to back it up.

Of all the lead produced in the U.S. only about 5% is used in the production of ammunition.

You can read a bit more about lead production here...

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lead/mcs-2012-lead.pdf

or here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead

It is the case that anti-gunners are attacking traditional ammo hoping to limit it's use and make it scarce for shooters. But there is no evidence that the closure of the Mo. plant was a part of a grand scheme.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation explains those attacks very well.

http://www.nssf.org/search/?q=lead+for+bullets&submit=Search

Truth is a useful weapon in the defense of our rights. Rumor and innuendo are not. They, in fact, get in the way.

tipoc

Queen_of_Thunder
December 2, 2013, 12:19 PM
Doe Run only produced 8% of this countrys lead usage. The remaining 92% came from outside the US. Those trying to use the shutdown of the Doe Run smelter as a way to impart fear and say there will be no ammo are not our friends. They are trying to use us which is dishonest. At least the gun grabbers are honest enought to tell us they want our guns. These people pushing the lies around Doe Run should never ever receive support from us.

Schwing
December 2, 2013, 12:55 PM
Doe Run only produced 8% of this countrys lead usage.

Not only that, but the vast majority of lead used in the U.S. comes from recovered lead these days. It is just cheaper and less costly to use recycled lead than to mine it and smelt it.

while I am not an expert on this subject, if a was a betting man, I would bet that this will not impact the prices or availability of ammo lead in the slightest.

tipoc
December 2, 2013, 02:23 PM
while I am not an expert on this subject, if a was a betting man, I would bet that this will not impact the prices or availability of ammo lead in the slightest.

Likely you'd win the bet.

What I figure does effect the price and availability has been a decade of war, the tremendous growth of law enforcement in the U.S. and their use of ammo, and panic buying and hoarding of ammo.

tipoc

Carl N. Brown
December 2, 2013, 04:00 PM
When I was a kid, we would travel from to Louisa KY on Labor Day weekend to stay on the dairy farm aunt Gladys and uncle Fred; we passed through coal mining country, there was a stream I always joking refered to as being the S--t Creek that everyone talked about being up without a paddle. Last few times we went up, it was actually cleaner.

We had a cement plant on the west end of downtown. I had to leave a car with a garage until I had the money to pay for the repairs. When I picked it up the finish had been damged by fallout from the cement plant; I learned that was a common problem. The plant eventually shut down and the problem went away, meantime, Rudi moved his auto shop to the east end of town.

We also had an iron foundry downtown that shut down. Most of the land still lies unused because the cleanup turned out to be more complicated. Large swaths appear to check out OK, then some tester hits a hot spot.

When the card factory I was working at shut down I was offered a job at a battery factory. Knowing a few people who worked there who had shown me acid burns and gave me complaints about lead exposure and safety equipment so cumbersome it hindered meeting production requirements, I declined.

I am not exactly an eco nut, but I have had to live and work around the consequences of environmental thoughtlessness.

hso
December 2, 2013, 05:15 PM
What Sierra is saying here is that while supply of lead may not be affected short term, there is more uncertainty, and therefore risk in future production.

That isn't what they said or meant. The recycle lead supply is stable, Sierra (like the vast majority of companies) uses recycled lead, they're not worried. Simple message clearly communicated. Spinning what they published to sell a different message won't go unchallenged in the face of Sierra and other bullet makers discounting the efforts to panic the public.

Mat, not doormat
December 2, 2013, 05:31 PM
No, I've never had that "sweet taste" in the back of my mouth from being around molten lead.

I will be taking your word for it :)
Maybe I'm hypersensitive? But yeah, I do notice a distinct taste/smell, particularly at indoor ranges, but also sometimes outdoors, when the smoke cloud (cast bullets being kinda smoky,) blows in your face. I've never actually licked a bullet to see if what I'm tasting is indeed lead. I just assume it is, since back in the Ye Olde Days, they used "sugar of lead," (http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2012/02/sugar-of-lead-a-deadly-sweetener/) as a sweetener.

It may just be an opportunity thing, too. I shoot cast bullets in both SASS and USPSA matches, so I've had lots of chances to notice.

TJ AK-74
December 3, 2013, 11:35 AM
Lead prices have curiously shot up 6% in the last month.

This was true when 748 posted it on October 30th, but since then, Lead prices have retreated by about 4-5%.

patmccoy
December 3, 2013, 05:51 PM
The "sweet" taste in your mouth comes from the propellant and priming gasses, not the elemental lead. There is lead in most priming compounds, probably the source of the taste in poorly ventilated ranges.

alsaqr
December 3, 2013, 06:17 PM
Maybe I'm hypersensitive? But yeah, I do notice a distinct taste/smell, particularly at indoor ranges, but also sometimes outdoors, when the smoke cloud (cast bullets being kinda smoky,) blows in your face

Same here. To me its a sweet taste.

i'm a long time EOD/UXO guy who has destroyed hundreds of millions of small arms rounds by burning. Been diagnosed with lead poisoning twice.

http://www.lead.org.au/q&a/2004/sweet_taste_of_lead_20040507002.html

JohnBT
December 4, 2013, 08:32 AM
Lead tastes sweet, it's why children eat paint chips in old houses.

Your ability to taste sweetness can change and fade some as you grow up.

Kevin Rohrer
December 21, 2013, 10:54 PM
If it a particularly high level product, it will be in a shield made of decayed uranium
How difficult is that to cast into bullets?
__________________

Not too tough, as lead IS deplete Uranium.

JohnBT
December 22, 2013, 08:07 AM
"lead IS deplete Uranium"

U-238 to Pb-206 has a half-life of 4.47 billion years for the purposes of uranium-lead dating. If all the lead in the ground started off as U, it must have started a very long time ago.

hso
December 22, 2013, 10:20 AM
If all the lead in the ground started off as U, it must have started a very long time ago.

;)

Well done.

Zeeemu
December 22, 2013, 10:58 AM
"The "sweet" taste in your mouth comes from the propellant and priming gasses, not the elemental lead."

Agreed. I've had pure lead air rifle pellets in my mouth and they didn't have a taste as far as I could determine. Didn't affect, affect, affect me either. :scrutiny:

OTOH, arsenic vapor does smell sweet. Discovered that bit of trivia in a chemical plant mishap. :eek:

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