U.S. & Canadian Smelters

Free Data for Mine Cost Estimates

Model Smelter Schedule - Lead Concentrates
2014 Smelter Survey Results - Trail Lead Smelter

Mining Cost Service contains the results of our annual surveys of U.S. and Canadian copper, lead, zinc, nickel and molybdenum smelters. Included where available are the current and projected availability of furnace capacity, the types of material accepted, deleterious element limits, metals recovered, and indications of the company's interest in obtaining additional concentrates. Also included is a guide to current charges and terms for smelting and refining of copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver, beryllium, and tungsten.

Model Smelter Schedule - Lead Concentrates


  • Lead: Pay for 95% of the lead content at market value, with minimum deductions of 1.5 to 3.0 units per dry tonne.
  • Gold: Deduct 0.03 to 0.07 troy ounce per dry tonne and pay for 95% of the remaining gold at market value.
  • Silver: Deduct 0.5 to 2.0 troy ounce per dry tonne and pay for 95% of the remaining silver at market value.
  • Copper: Some smelters will pay for as much as 40% of contained copper while at some other smelters is concidered deleterious.


  • Treatment Charge: Terms for clean, very low-silver material for 2012 settled at $200 to $210 per tonne (flat), of $200 per tonne at a basis $2,100 per tonne with variety of up and down escalators and a silver RC of $0.40 to $0.60 per ounce. Terms for clean, very low-silver material for 2013 are estimated at about $200 at a basis $2,000 per tonne with variety of up and down escalators and a silver RC of $1.50 per ounce. In 2012, TCs for high silver content (100 ounces per tonne) concentrates settled at about $300 per tonne, basis $2,100 with an up escalator of 4% and a down escalator of 1%, and a silver refining charge of $1.50 per ounce. Generally, high silver long-term contracts range from $210 to $300 per tonne, with silver refining charges at $0.60 to $1.50 per ounce.
  • Complex Concentrates: Smelters are charging an additional $50 to $100 per tonne for low-grade, high-silver, complex or bulk concentrates.
  • Refining Charges(1)
        $6.00 - $10.00 per ounce of payable gold
        $0.60 - $1.50 per ounce of payable silver (2)


  • Deleterious Element Penalties: Lead concentrates containing excessive amounts of the following elements may be penalized of rejected: arsenic, antimony, bismuth, nickel, copper, alumina, tellurium, and mercury. Iron in excess of 10% is also considered deleterious. See individual smelter descriptions for details.
  • Moisture: High moisture content may also be penalized due to material handling difficulties.


  • Lead refining charges: These are rarely assessed directly in today's market. They are usually built into treatment charges. Additional charges may be assessed in the form of a metal-to-market levy if the smelter is not located near the lead metal market.
  • Silver refining charges: These previously ranged from $0.30 to $0.40 per troy ounce of payable silver. However, with the rise in the silver price, smelters have increased this charge to $0.60 to $1.50 per troy ounce, depending on the smelter and quality of concentrate. Recent spot contracts are charging up to $1.50 per troy ounce for high silver concentrates and some Chinese smelters are demanding $3.00 to $4.00 per troy ounce for these concentrates.

2014 Smelter Survey Results - Trail Lead Smelter

Company: Teck Metals Ltd, a part of Teck Resources Ltd
Location: Trail, British Columbia, Canada
Products: lead and lead-arsenic-antimony alloys
By-products: gold, silver, bismuth, copper sulfate, copper arsenate and sodium antimonate.
Type of operation: Kivcet lead smelter and refinery, silver refinery (also see Trail Zinc Plant)
Annual capacity: 120,000 tonnes (132,000 short tons) refined lead. The silver refinery has a capacity of about 20 million troy ounces per year. Teck Metals produced about 86,400 tonnes (95,200 short tons) refined lead and 22.8 million troy ounces silver in 2013. Production for 2014 is projected at 82,000 to 87,000 tonnes of refined lead and 22 to 25 million ounces of silver.
Capacity utilized: 72%.
Problematic elements: Elements that may interfere with the current lead smelting operation include alumina, copper, zinc, tellurium, tin, mercury, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth.
Concentrate sources: Teck Resources’ Red Dog Mine in Alaska supplies much of the lead concentrates for the lead smelter. The remainder is purchased from sources in North and South America. Teck produces about 15% of its lead from scrap such as lead-acid batteries. About 2 million car batteries are processed each year at the Trail plant. The company also recycles precious metals scrap from computers and other electronics. The company prefers high gold/silver content, but also handles tolerable levels of bismuth and copper in the lead concentrates. They pay for 85-95% of the contained gold and silver after deductions and are also interested in purchasing silver/gold-bearing silica ores for fluxing material. Lead production from Red Dog in 2012 was 95,400 tonnes (10,500 short tons).
Other comments: The facility at Trail, B.C. is the only integrated zinc-lead smelter complex in North America. Current production capacity at Trail represents 5% of the western world's refined zinc and 3% of the western world's lead output. The complex produces chiefly zinc, lead, silver, gold, and byproduct indium, cadmium, germanium, bismuth, copper sulfate, copper arsenate, sodium antimonate and a range of sulfur products. In 1995, the company began construction of a new Kivcet lead smelter and a slag fuming plant at Trail. After numerous start-up problems and subsequent modifications, the lead smelter came on-line in 1997. The smelter replaced the original sinter and blast furnace smelter which continued to operate while the Kivcet smelter was being constructed. The new smelter has lowered lead and sulfur dioxide emissions by 75% and particulate emissions by 90%. In addition, the Kivcet process enables Teck to process complex concentrates, as well as zinc plant residues and lead battery scrap. The company can meet most of the new smelter's supply requirements from its own mines and stockpiled material, however, significant capacity is filled with custom concentrates.

Mining Cost Service: Smelting Section Contents

Model Smelter Schedules: Copper, Lead, Zinc
Gold and Silver Refining
Smelter Survey Results (see the full list of smelters included in the Mining Cost Service below).

Horne Smelter
C.P. 4000
Rouyn-Noranda PQ J9X 5B6
Hayden Smelter 
ASARCO Inc. - Ray Complex
P.O. Box 8
Hayden AZ 85235
Miami Copper Smelter
Freeport McMoRan
P.O. Box 4444
Claypool AZ 85532
Utah Copper Smelter
Kennecott Utah Copper
P.O. Box 6001
Magna UT 84006-0525
Sudbury Nickel-Copper Smelter
Falconbridge ON P0M 1S0
Copper Cliff smelter
Vale-Inco Limited
Sudbury ON P0M 1N0
Thompson Nickel-Copper Complex
Vale-Inco Limited
Thompson MB R8N 1P3
Nickel-Cobalt Refinery
Sherritt International Co.
P.O. Box 3388
Fort Saskatchewan AB T8L 2T3
Longe Harbor Processing Plant
Vale Limited
1 Nickel Road, P.O. Box 39
Long Harbour, NL A0B 2JO
Trail Lead Smelter
Teck Ltd.
Lead Operations
Trail BC V1R 4L8
Belledune Lead Smelter
(formerly Brunswick Mining & Smelting)
Belledune NB E0B 1G0
Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Refinery
Noranda Income Fund
860, Cadieux Boulevard
Valleyfield PQ J6S 4W2
Trail Zinc Refinery
Teck Ltd.
Trail Operations
Trail BC V1R 4L8
Flin Flon Zinc Division
HudBay Minerals
P.O. Box 1500
Flin Flon MB R8A 1S8
Clarksville Refinery
P.O. Box 1104, Zinc Plant Road
Clarksville TN 37041-1104
Endako Molybdenum Roaster
Thompson Creek Metals
P.O. Box 4001
Fraser Lake BC V0J 1S0
Delta Plant - (Beryllium)
Performance Alloys
P.O. Box 815
Delta UT 84624
Molybdenum Refinery
Climax Molybdenum Co.
P.O. Box 220
Ft. Madison IA 52627
Sierrita Molybdenum Roasters
Freeport McMoRan
P.O. Box 527
Green Valley AZ 85622-0527
Langeloth Molybdenum Roaster
Thompson Creek Metals
Langeloth PA
Columbus Platinum-Palladium Smelter
Stillwater Mining Company
P.O. Box 1209
Columbus MT 59019
Fallon Plant (Tungsten)
Kennametal Inc.
347 North Taylor Street
Fallon NV 89406

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