Doe Run Research Uncovers Top Issues Facing Missourians
21 Feb 2013
ST. LOUIS (Feb. 21, 2013) – The Doe Run Company recently conducted research in the Missouri communities where the company operates to identify the major issues facing citizens in Herculaneum, Viburnum, Boss, Glover, and the area known as the Old Lead Belt (including Park Hills and Desloge in St. Francois County, Mo.). Among the key findings, 60 percent of respondents cited jobs and the economy as their top areas of interest.
“At Doe Run, we respect community values, priorities and interests by considering how our actions have the potential to affect our neighbors,” said Jay Doty, Doe Run’s community engagement coordinator. “To better understand the communities where we work, we look for ways to have meaningful conversations and to collaborate with residents. This research is a good first step to help us better comprehend their interests, perceptions and understanding.”
Doe Run worked with St. Louis-based Prell Organization to conduct its research, which included more than 400 telephone interviews and four focus groups in the main regions where Doe Run operates and employees live. All responses were kept confidential.
Supporting Jobs and the Economy
Sixty percent of respondents reported the most important issues facing their communities are jobs and the economy, followed by health care at 10 percent.
Doe Run employs more than 1,500 people in Missouri, contributing nearly $1 billion to the state’s economy. And, while Doe Run had to reduce its workforce in 2009 due to the economic downturn, increased domestic and global demand for metal allowed Doe Run to return to its pre-recession number of employees by 2011.
“Mining is a critical source of jobs for thousands in this area,” said Steve Batts, general manager at Doe Run’s Southeast Missouri Mining and Milling Division. “According to the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, the mining industry expects to add 11,000 to 13,000 jobs annually over the next two decades. Our own goals include exploring new opportunities both in Missouri and elsewhere in North America.”
Meanwhile, Doe Run’s Herculaneum smelter is slated to close its smelting operations in December 2013 to comply with environmental regulations. In response, Doe Run is collaborating with the Jefferson County Port Authority, Riverview Commerce Park LLC and city leaders to repurpose company land for future commerce. A proposed port could create as many as 1,971 permanent jobs and 4,075 construction-related jobs in Jefferson County.
Focus group feedback revealed that residents also hope local job opportunities will be available for their children. Doe Run has worked for years to provide real-world experience to local students to develop thoughtful, skilled leaders who will support the industry as employees retire. Doe Run regularly provides internships to college students, awards multiple university and community college scholarships, donates school supplies, and conducts minerals education classes for many southeast Missouri elementary schools. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed gave Doe Run high marks for support of local schools and organizations.
Doe Run also supports local health care, contributing $74,500 to the development of Iron County Hospital since the facility opened in 2007.
Following jobs, the economy and health care, respondents indicated that the environment was the fourth most important issue to them. Meanwhile, 63 percent of respondents ranked Doe Run as excellent, very good or good at fixing environmental issues.
Doe Run has dedicated decades to minimizing its impact on the environment. In 2011, Doe Run transformed the recycling process at the Buick Resource Recycling Division (BRRD) by installing a dry lime scrubber to reduce air emissions and eliminate odors. At the Sweetwater and Casteel mines, Doe Run installed new sump pumps and basins as part of a water quality improvement program. In addition, the company recently completed several years of research on a revolutionary new lead metal production process that virtually eliminates all lead air emissions and eliminates sulfur dioxide emissions.
Some of the company’s most noticeable community accomplishments stem from its remediation work. Doe Run is revitalizing numerous historic lead mining sites and restoring them for recreational and community use. In 2012, Doe Run completed remediation at the National site in Park Hills, Mo., the Isherwood site in Jasper County, Mo., and Block P. in Cascade County, Mont.
Doe Run is also exploring ways to use historic mining sites as potential sources of energy. Earlier this year, the company partnered with MFA Oil Biomass LLC and Missouri University of Science and Technology to plant Miscanthus grass, a biofuel crop, at Doe Run’s Mine 28 tailings site. Similarly, Doe Run is collaborating with Missouri-based Microgrid Energy on a potential plan to develop a solar panel farm atop a remediated chat pile in Park Hills.
“We’ve made great progress in completing much of our environmental restoration work, and we are now beginning to assess how we can repurpose these properties,” said Chris Neaville, Doe Run’s asset development director.
In recent years, Doe Run has provided business updates through community meetings, local media outlets, online information and its annual report.
Doe Run shares how it is delivering on its environmental, social and economic responsibilities using the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The company’s award-winning GRI reports are available online at sustainability.doerun.com. Doe Run also recently launched a new website to provide expanded information about the company, its products and the mining industry.
To connect with the community on a more personal level, Doe Run hired Jay Doty as community engagement coordinator. Doty will identify opportunities to bolster community engagement on behalf of Doe Run. He has more than 30 years of experience working with diverse communities to uncover challenges and opportunities, gain stakeholder input, and deliver projects that support regional goals. In the past, Doty helped Doe Run develop hiking trails and a playground in partnership with Herculaneum Today and Tomorrow.
In addition, research indicated that overall, 66 percent of respondents reported favorable, and 17 percent reported improved perceptions, of Doe Run. However, 47 percent of people surveyed indicated room to improve the public’s ability to provide feedback on important issues. Doe Run expects that new efforts, including creating Doty’s position to focus on the company’s community engagement initiatives, will make it easier for residents to provide feedback. Doe Run continues to hold community meetings as a way for residents to discuss important issues.
Information about upcoming community meetings and other events, as well as contact information for each of Doe Run’s divisions, can be accessed online at www.doerun.com. Residents can also contact Doe Run at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Doe Run is fully committed to supporting the community’s needs through jobs and economic stability. In order to do so, we need our neighbors’ support for this vital Missouri industry,” said Jerry Pyatt, president and CEO at Doe Run. “We are currently undertaking a critical step in this process by improving our communication with our communities so we understand their needs, and they know more about our challenges and aspirations, as well as how our products are essential to our local, national and global economy.”
About The Doe Run Company
Based in St. Louis, The Doe Run Company is a privately held natural resources company and the largest integrated lead producer in the Western Hemisphere. Dedicated to environmentally responsible mineral and metal production, Doe Run operates one of the world’s largest, single-site lead recycling facilities located in Boss, Mo. The Doe Run Company and its subsidiary deliver products and services necessary to provide power, protection and convenience. Doe Run has operations in Missouri, Washington and Arizona. For more information, visit www.doerun.com.