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December 30, 2013
16:12 EDTZINCHorsehead expects NC zinc facility to be ready for production in January
Horsehead Holding commented on activities surrounding the transition of zinc production from its Monaca, Pennsylvania facility to the new plant in Mooresboro, North Carolina along with other recent developments. The company announced that it started the heat-up cycle required to commission the induction melting furnace at our new zinc facility in Mooresboro, NC. The furnace is expected to be ready for production near the end of January. The company expects the cellhouse to be ready to produce first zinc cathode to feed the melting facility shortly after the furnace is fully commissioned. Start-up of the lead circuit is still expected by the end of Q2. The anticipated ramp-up curve of both the zinc plant and the lead recovery circuit are unchanged from previous expectations. The company still expects to generate $90M-$110M of incremental EBITDA from this investment once fully ramped-up. The zinc oxide and high purity zinc metal refinery operation at the Monaca facility ceased operation on December 23. The smelting operation has been reduced from six furnaces to five furnaces as remaining zinc feedstock at the site is being converted to Prime Western grade zinc metal. The smelting operation is expected to be closed within a few weeks after first zinc production in Mooresboro. Horsehead Corporation has signed an amended purchase agreement with Shell Chemical that, among other matters, extends the period of time during which Shell can continue to perform its evaluation of the Monaca site. This agreement also provides for the start of demolition and related activities at the Monaca site at Shellís expense commencing in Q1 with respect to certain portions of the site. A joint venture known as ThirtyOx has been created with Imperial Zinc for the acquisition and processing of zinc-bearing secondary materials. The processing operation will be located in North Carolina near the Mooresboro facility. Horseheadís required investment is expected to be less than $2M at this time. This facility is expected to be operational by mid-year 2014. The company converted the remainder of its Q1 put options with an 85c per pound strike price to fixed price swap contracts for the same period at an average price of approximately 90c per pound. This brings the total quantity covered under the forward fixed price swaps for Q1 to 8,800 tons per month. The company has no zinc hedge positions beyond Q1 2014. The company also sold its copper-based powders business located in Palmerton, PA. The business unit was considered to be non-core and was not making a positive contribution toward earnings. The company will continue to operate its zinc powder business.
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