Doe Run denies lead circuit emissions at La Oroya

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peruvian environmental watchdog OEFA's report of emissions coming from the lead circuit at US-owned Doe Run Perú''s La Oroya metallurgical complex in Junín region is a "misunderstanding" and the circuit is not operational, the administrator in charge of the La Oroya liquidation process, Right Business, told BNamericas.

"How can there be emissions if it is not yet running?" a Right Business representative said, adding that there is no activity underway at the complex's lead processing circuit.

The only circuit confirmed to be operational by the company is the zinc processing one, which was restarted in July.

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The OEFA report released November 15 said that an inspection on the previous day found emission leaks from the roaster at La Oroya's lead processing circuit, which it reported as being in a warming up phase. While the watchdog did not order the close of the complex, the release said Doe Run had been verbally warned that emissions must be controlled before the circuit is put back in operation.

The lead circuit is scheduled to start up next Monday (Nov 26), according to the company representative.

The spokesperson also denied allegations of plans to restart of the complex's copper circuit and said there are no such plans for the coming months. Paper La República reported that local workers are hoping for the copper circuit to be reinitiated by the end of this month, allowing nearly 80% of them to return to their jobs.

The nearly century-old complex was not operating for nearly three years following the bankruptcy of Doe Run in 2009.

Right Business recently assigned Swiss bank UBS to manage the sale of both the La Oroya complex and Doe Run's Cobriza mine in Huancavelica region, which are to be sold together, as part of the company's restructuring process.

Doe Run Perú, a subsidiary of privately held US company Renco International, acquired the smelter when it was privatized in 1997 and agreed to a series of environmental improvements to reduce heavy metal and other emissions.

La Oroya has capacity to produce 11 different metals, but mainly copper, zinc, lead and silver. OEFA is part of Peru's environment ministry.