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Nyrstar's Port Pirie lead smelter ramps up production

LONDON (Reuters) - Nyrstar's Port Pirie lead smelter in Australia is ramping up production after completion of a project to improve efficiency, the Netherlands-based company said on Wednesday.

The Port Pirie smelter was shut in October for work to reduce emissions and improve operational performance.

Nyrstar, majority owned by trading and logistics company Trafigura, declined to say how much lead Port Pirie produces. The plant produced 160,000 tonnes of lead in 2018.

Global lead consumption is estimated by analysts at about 13 million tonnes this year.

Germany's Stolberg lead plant, which is in the process of being purchased by Trafigura and will be managed by Nystar, was closed for repair work after flood damage in 2021 but has not reopened because the sale has not been completed, Nyrstar said.

Stolberg produces about 155,000 tonnes of lead annually.

"We currently do not have an update on when we expect to receive the relevant regulatory approvals," the company said.

Lead prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) hit $2,302.5 a tonne on Wednesday, the highest since May 5, on worries about supplies and inventories at 15-year lows in LME-registered warehouses.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Goodman)