The US, once dominant in lead, has been overtaken by China and will also fall behind India before this decade is out. US demand grew at less than 1% p.a. over the past 30 years and will show no meaningful growth over the next two decades. However, at 15% of the global total, it remains a significant consumer of lead. But while demand has been largely static, production has fallen sharply with the loss of all primary smelting and the closure of several secondary plants. The US must now import a third of its lead requirement, while at the same time it's losing huge volumes of scrap in exports. American smelters want to restrict this loss of their principal feed stock. The reality is that they could not cope with the potential volume without expanding recycling capacity - if that is even possible - or accepting continuing high levels of scrap exports. Can the US lead industry be ready for the future?