Horsehead Holding Corp. has announced plans to construct a new, lower-cost, environmentally-friendly zinc production facility to replace its existing plant at Monaca, Pennsylvania. The plant will utilize ZINCEX solvent extraction technology developed by Tecnicas Reunidas, which has been engaged to complete an engineering study for the new plant. The ZINCEX process has been successfully deployed at the Skorpion zinc plant in Namibia and the Akita zinc plant in Japan.
Horsehead anticipates its new plant will be capable of producing in excess of 150,000 mt/y of zinc metal and will significantly reduce manufacturing conversion costs due to the lower energy usage, higher labor productivity, and lower maintenance needs associated with the new technology. The plant will produce zinc solely from recycled materials and will use significantly less fossil fuel than Horsehead’s current smelter. The plant will convert electric arc furnace-based feed and other recycled materials into Special High Grade zinc and other grades in addition to the Prime Western grade currently offered by the company. The process also will allow the company to recover metals it does not currently recover, such as silver and lead, as well as copper and cadmium contained in electric arc furnace dust.
Site evaluations and negotiations regarding the final location for the new zinc plant are in progress. Horsehead plans to submit environmental permit applications during the third quarter of 2011 and, subject to the availability of appropriate financing, to begin construction before the end of the year. Construction of the plant could be completed as early as the third quarter of 2013. The existing smelter will continue to operate until such time as the new plant has achieved its targeted production run-rate.