Horsehead Corporation announced that it plans to build its new, state-of-the-art zinc and diversified metals production facility in Rutherford County, N.C., near the municipality of Forest City. The new plant is expected to employ approximately 250 people once it is fully operational. According to Horsehead, the facility will produce zinc at much lower costs and provide opportunities for the company not only to serve its traditional hot-dip-galvanizing market but also to serve the broader market for special high-grade zinc and the continuous galvanizing market. Horsehead anticipates capital costs for the new plant, which will be capable of producing special high-grade zinc and continuous-galvanizing grade in addition to the Prime Western grade that the company currently produces, to be more than $350 million.            

Construction of the facility could be completed as early as the third quarter of 2013. The existing smelter in Monaca, Pa., will continue to operate until the new plant is fully commissioned. Horsehead plans to continue non-smelter operations in Monaca and is exploring alternative uses for the facility. The new facility will utilize a lower-cost, environmentally friendly solvent extraction and electrowinning technology to selectively remove and refine valuable metals from EAF-based feed and other recycled materials into special high-grade zinc and other metal concentrates containing silver, copper and lead.