We asked Sierra Bullets Plant Engineer Darren Leskiw, “How will the closure of the lead smelting plant affect Sierra Bullets?”
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 lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.
The facility we buy from is still going strong and delivering to us as scheduled. The lead from this facility is from recycled lead, mostly coming from car batteries. This is a continuing “in and out” cycle for them and the smelter closing will not affect this facility.
Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. 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.
There are many other primary lead smelters in the world and so the flow of primary lead will not be shut off. Where there is a need for primary lead, I am sure there will be a salesman more than happy to pick up the business.
In short, we do not see any reason for alarm. We expect our supply to continue and keep feeding our production lines which are still running 24 hours per day to return our inventory levels to where they should be.