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Continued: Eagan company finds new life for dead car batteries

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 20, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Some of the lead was cast into cylinders and shipped to Federal Cartridge in Anoka and other ammunition makers. Gopher’s been supplying lead to the military and ammunition makers for 60 years. It’s also supplied the nation’s largest batterymakers for decades.

“We buy millions of pounds from them every year,” said Rick Leiby, metal operations vice president at East Penn Manufacturing, the country’s second largest lead-acid battery maker. “Their operation does some things that not everyone does. They not only recover the lead but they also recover polypropylene plastic from the battery case. We take the plastic and turn it into new battery cases.”

At Johnson Controls Power Solutions, the largest U.S. lead-acid battery maker, recycling general manager Tom Parmenter said he likes that Gopher helps keep car and truck batteries out of the waste stream. “Gopher is an important partner in our effort to bring battery recycling levels in the U.S. to 100 percent,” he said. “At Johnson Controls, we are working actively to ensure that all automotive batteries get recycled safely. Gopher helps us realize that goal.”

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

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  • Gopher Resource employee Tracy Bennett poured melted lead from recycled car batteries into ingots for reuse at the Eagan plant.

  • Lead acid batteries, mostly from cars, were stored at a Gopher Resource warehouse awaiting to be recycled by the Eagan-based company. Eagan-based Gopher Resource recycles the lead and plastic out of millions of car/truck batteries a year (That equals 540 million pounds of lead and 30 million pounds of plastic each year.) Gopher Resource has plants in Eagan, Mn. and Florida. The company added 72 workers last year in Minnesota, and just opened a Florida plant, and is increasing total production about 25% this year.] Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune Daniel Leach/source.

  • Daniel Leach, Gopher Resource’s business development officer, explained the operations of Gopher Resource on a large photograph.

  • Daniel Leach held recycled plastic battery casing chips that would be processed into pellets for reuse. Gopher Resource of Eagan recycles the lead and plastic out of millions of car and truck batteries a year.

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