28 Jul 2022
Doe Run continues to make progress on several remediation projects.
Signs of Missouri’s rich mining legacy are visible throughout the state, such as in the names of towns, like Leadwood. In fact, Bonne Terre, Desloge and Leadington sprang up as a result of the mining industry. Today, Doe Run is the only lead mining company left in Missouri, and a major focus of our environmental work has been addressing clean-up efforts at historic mine sites and other areas to prepare them for the future.
“As the last lead mining company in the area, we are often called upon to clean up legacy mining projects,” said Chris Neaville, asset and business development director at Doe Run. “We have a team of more than 40 remediation specialists dedicated to returning these sites to nature or readying them for new uses.”
Old Lead Belt
Much of Missouri’s mining remediation occurs in the Old Lead Belt, where settlers began lead mining more than 300 years ago. In 2021, the Soil & Land Services (S&L) team safely remediated 275 yards in St. Francois County – 83% more than in any previous year, despite a wet spring and pandemic-related delays in hiring and equipment purchases. To handle the higher volume, the team hired 20 new employees and relied on local contractors for additional support. The remediation work, which is part of a 13-year program, has received positive feedback from community leaders and homeowners, some of whom sent holiday cards and cooked breakfasts for the crews.
In 2021, Doe Run also completed a project to seal five legacy drill holes to eliminate ongoing discharge into the Big River near Owl Creek Park.
This past year marked a major milestone at the Herculaneum site. In August, we shut down the refinery, the only remaining process in operation at the 129-year-old facility. We now refine lead metal at the Resource Recycling facility in Boss, Missouri.
“[The S&L] crews finished work on our property in November and we could not be happier with the results. They were always careful in doing their work and meticulous in their clean up.”Desloge Mayor David Shaw
The Riverview Commerce Park, LLC (RCP) river port continues to thrive. Located on 18 acres of riverfront property once owned by Doe Run, the site has become important for shipping bulk materials along the Mississippi River. Future development of the site may include a port facility for vessels carrying shipping containers from Louisiana up the Mississippi River. The inland shipping route would help alleviate supply chain issues, like those experienced in 2021 at shipping ports along the east and west coast.
Doe Run currently mines in the New Lead Belt, also known as the Viburnum Trend. Mining in the Viburnum Trend began in the 1960s.
“Regulations and technology have evolved a great deal in the past 60 years,” said Chris. “A few years ago, we entered into an agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to perform environmental restoration projects in the Viburnum Trend.”
Doe Run completed the following projects in 2021:
- Viburnum Trend Haul Route: Along with other companies that used to operate in the area, we replaced soil in yards located along the roads that were historically used to transport lead, zinc and copper concentrates from the mills. We sampled 208 yards along the road, and only 17% of the yards sampled required partial replacements. This project was completed in 2021.
- Stream Restoration: We sampled water in 10 miles of local streams, including Indian Creek, Big Creek, Crooked Creek, Strother Creek, Bills Creek, Sweetwater Creek and Adair Creek. About 70% of the areas sampled required no action. The remaining areas will be restored through excavating sediment and resampling the area as necessary.
- Sweetwater Mill Vegetation: We completed the first year of a 10-year project to restore native vegetation along 30 acres of land at our Sweetwater Mill. It will take several years to cultivate these plants so they can flourish.
- Land Donation: As part of the agreement with state and federal agencies mentioned above, Doe Run donated nearly 1,100 acres of land for conservation purposes. Four of these properties, including the dense forest of the Irish Wilderness and a beautiful natural glade known as the Silvey property, were donated to the U.S. Forest Service. In January 2022, two properties along the Joachim Creek in Herculaneum were transferred to the Land Learning Center at the request of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A final parcel was donated in early 2022 to the Ozark Land Trust. This property sits adjacent to existing conservation land and will be given to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
In the coming year, we’ll continue remediation efforts in the Viburnum Trend by beginning stream restoration efforts and kicking off a three-year project to replace soil at approximately 60 yards located throughout the city of Viburnum.
Doe Run also works diligently to minimize the impact of our current operations on the environment. Learn more by reviewing our environmental performance data.