NEW YORK, Nov. 8 -- Horsehead Holding Corp (ZINC.O: Quote) Monaca, Pennsylvania zinc refining facility will return to full production capacity ahead of schedule, the company said following its third-quarter conference call last week.
"It is expected that our full production capability will be restored by the end of this year," Jim Hensler, president and chief executive, said after the company's quarterly results.
The plant will be restarted at the end of the year rather than the first quarter of 2011, as previously expected.
A late-July explosion at the plant, located 28 miles (50 km) north of Pittsburgh, curtailed production rates and forced the company to declare force majeure on some zinc oxide and special high-grade zinc contracts.
As a result, third-quarter production rates were 25 percent less-than-expected, the company said.
"The third quarter was negatively affected by the incident which occurred in the Monaca refinery on July 22, 2010 which fatally injured two employees while shutting down all of the columns used in the production of zinc oxide and refined zinc metal," Hensler said.
For the quarter, the company reported a consolidated net loss of $2.4 million, versus a net loss of $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2009.
Despite the Monaca shortfall, third-quarter zinc production rates did manage to grow 3.2 percent to 28,074 tonnes from 27,214 tonnes in the year-ago period.
"The smelting facility operated at a reduced rate during the quarter although we were able to offset a portion of the lost revenue from zinc oxide with additional zinc metal sales and by resuming zinc oxide production in our Larvik furnaces," Hensler said.
Electric arc furnace (EAF) dust receipts increased 4.5 percent to 132,755 tonnes in the third quarter.
"EAF dust receipts for the quarter were off slightly from the first half of the year as output from the steel industry softened," he said.
"The level of our EAF dust receipts continues to be paced by the output from the steel industry. Steel industry capacity utilization has been operating in the 67 to 70 percent range during the past four weeks which is below the third quarter average of approximately 71 percent.
"We expect to operate our recycling facilities near full capacity during the fourth quarter as we reduce the backlog of dust at our facilities," Hensler said.