On December 31, 2013 the last primary lead smelter in the US will cease operation. News of the closure had prompted questions about future ammunition supply.
The Doe Run Smelter in Herculaneum, Mo. is a primary lead smelter. It is used to produce lead from raw ore, taken from the ground. Eighty percent of the lead consumed in the US is used to produce batteries. The recycle rate of these batteries is approximately 98 percent. Ammunition production only accounts for three percent of lead used. Sierra announced on their website that the lead used in their bullets is recycled lead, and comes from several sources in order to maintain a constant supply.
Federal stated in their FAQ that it does not anticipate any additional strain in their ability to obtain lead.
At this time it does not appear that ammunition supply will be effected. However it will be interesting to see if this will prompt ammunition companies to look to lead replacements in the future. In the future a new smelter may be constructed with currently existing environmental technologies to comply with EPA air quality regulations.