Horsehead Holding Corp. Provides Update on Restart Schedule for its Monaca, PA Plant
Pittsburgh, PA, September 1, 2010 - Horsehead Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: ZINC) today provided an update on efforts aimed at restarting operations at its Monaca, PA refining facility.
The Monaca plant's zinc oxide and metal refinery remains temporarily shutdown. This shutdown commenced immediately following the July 22, 2010 incident at the plant. Teams from the U.S. Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) and Horsehead continue their separate investigations into the cause and the circumstances that may have contributed to the occurrence of this incident. Horsehead is cooperating fully with these investigations, and is collaborating with these agencies and the United Steelworkers.
It is believed that this incident was caused by liquid zinc escaping into the much hotter combustion chamber surrounding the distillation column. The liquid zinc then vaporized and expanded rapidly, breaching the column wall and combusting upon reaching the atmosphere.
Horsehead plans to implement certain preventive and protective enhancements to the Monaca refinery based on results of the investigations to date. Horsehead's decision to move ahead on these enhancements is consistent with its continuing commitment to the safety of its employees, contractors and visitors. Enhancements will be made to the design of the columns and operating procedures to minimize the risk of a reoccurrence. In addition, an alarm system will be installed and barriers will be constructed around the columns to further protect employees.
Regarding zinc oxide production, Horsehead currently expects to restart all four Larvik furnaces by the end of September. Horsehead expects to restart the zinc oxide and refined zinc metal columns in stages starting in November. Assuming the planned rebuilding is completed on schedule, Horsehead anticipates it will be able to bring its production of zinc oxide and refined zinc metal to pre-incident levels by January, 2011. The Company plans to keep all employees at the Monaca facility on the payroll throughout the rebuilding schedule.
"Our investigation has progressed to the point that we are now focusing on resuming operations," said Horsehead President & CEO Jim Hensler, "Through the collaborative efforts of our independent experts and our workforce we will be implementing several safety enhancements to the refinery plant. We appreciate the support of our customers during this difficult period and look forward to servicing them once again in the near future."
About Horsehead Holding Corp.
Horsehead Holding Corp. ("Horsehead") (Nasdaq: ZINC) is the parent company of Horsehead Corporation, a leading U.S. producer of specialty zinc and zinc-based products and a leading recycler of electric arc furnace dust, and The International Metals Reclamation Company ("INMETCO"), a leading recycler of metals-bearing wastes and a leading processor of nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries in North America. Horsehead, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, employs approximately 1,000 people and has seven facilities throughout the U.S. Visit http://www.horsehead.net/ for more information.
Cautionary Statement about Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "Safe-Harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and actual results may differ materially from those predicted by the forward-looking statements. These statements are necessarily subject to risk and uncertainty and actual outcomes could differ materially due to various factors, including the extent of the damage resulting from the explosion, the impact of this incident on the Company's continuing operations, the timing and cost of repairs and safety enhancements and the effectiveness of these enhancements and the impact of the investigations on the rebuild efforts, as well as those risk factors set forth from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and we undertake no obligation to update any such statements. You should carefully consider these factors and the risk factors and other information in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a description of risks that could, among other things, cause actual outcomes to differ from these forward-looking statements.
Source: Horsehead Holding Corp.
Contact: Ali Alavi 724.773.2212