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Giant Lead Smelter Settles for $72 Million

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - Doe Run Resources - the nation's largest lead producer - will spend $72 million to settle claims that it violated environmental laws. Doe Run will spend $65 million to correct violations at 10 of its mining, milling and smelting facilities in Southeast Missouri, and another $7 million in civil penalties, Attorney General Chris Koster said.

"This settlement represents a big win for families who live in Southeast Missouri," Koster said in a statement. "Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of high levels of lead, and this settlement ensures that Doe Run will take responsible actions to clean up the environment and protect Missourians from dangerous pollution."

Doe Run will shut down its Herculaneum lead smelter, 30 miles south of St. Louis, by Dec. 31, 2013.

The settlement leaves open the possibility for Doe Run to install newer, cleaner technologies for lead smelting, and Koster said Doe Run will provide $8.14 million to guarantee cleanup at the Herculaneum site.

Doe Run must also continue to clean up contaminated properties in Herculaneum, do stream mitigation on 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek at a cost $5.8 million, and pay $2 million for community projects over 4 years, according to the settlement.

Of the $7 million civil penalty, $3.5 million will go to the United States for violation of federal environmental laws and the other $3.5 million to Missouri for violation of the Missouri Air Conservation Law.

Koster said Doe Run will set up trust funds of $28 million to $33 million to clean up facilities at Herculaneum, Brushy Creek, Buick, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum and West Fork.

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