Read below to learn more about how we manage our social, environmental and economic commitments.
Doe Run operates with the consent of the community. We recognize the importance of their goodwill and the responsibility we have to operate safely, economically, soundly and in an environmentally sustainable manner. Our local communities expect us to be a fair and responsible community member that provides jobs at a fair rate, sources materials from local vendors where possible, supports community organizations, and includes the concerns of the community in our decision-making process.
When we developed our Sustainability Principles, it was important to us that we address being a good neighbor, specifically:
- We respect community values, priorities and interests in our business decisions.
- We provide enduring benefits that enhance our communities.
- We maximize the economic benefits we provide to our stakeholders.
Each of our operations has community engagement plans that guide community outreach, communication and support. We are able to provide both immediate and lasting benefits to the community by:
- Purchasing locally wherever possible.
- Providing supplier procurement programs that help local vendors operate more sustainably.
- Hiring locally where possible, and paying higher-than-average wages.
- Paying royalties to governments and private landholders, as well as our fair share of taxes.
- Supporting educational opportunities through STEM curriculum in area schools, tours, internships, summer jobs, doctoral candidate projects, and academic scholarships.
- Providing donations to local charities that improve the quality of life for people in our community.
We also aim to share information in a transparent and proactive manner. Although we are a privately held company, we choose to report annually on our social, economic and environmental performance in our Sustainability Report, so community members, customers, legislators and other stakeholders know how we are doing. We also regularly conduct community surveys to determine the interests, concerns and disposition toward our operations of those living nearest to our operations. In this way, we can adjust our community engagement and communications efforts to better meet the community’s needs.
By sharing information openly, being an active member and supporter of the community, living in and near the communities in which we operate, and engaging in two-way dialogue, we believe we can support the sustainability of the local communities, and produce and deliver our products more efficiently.
The Doe Run Company’s values – safety, integrity, collaboration, respect, stewardship and sustainability – affirm our organization’s culture and commitment to sound and ethical business practices. This starts with how we treat our employees and employee candidates. Our goal is to attract and retain the best employees in order to help us achieve our goals, so it is important that we strive to respect and invest in our people and consider workforce and industry best practices.
Our approach to employment and workers follows the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action in all employment policies and practices, including our recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, transfers, training, promotions, company-sponsored events, and other employment activities. We track and report on employment rates annually, as well as employee health and safety monthly to ensure we’re meeting those principles.
An employee handbook outlines our business code of conduct, hiring practices, time and attendance policies, anti-harassment policies and procedures, compensation and pay practices, benefit and leave policies, and much more for employees. We provide helpful resources, such as the Your Voice 24-Hour Hotline to support all employees if they would like to report anything that might be illegal, unethical or a violation of company policy. We introduce all new employees to these materials during orientation, and regularly review them with employees when and if changes are made to a policy, or if a need is identified.
We support a culture of respect, continuous improvement and safety by identifying competencies that are aligned directly to our values and have built them into our talent management practices. We assess and review talent for our critical positions companywide on an annual basis, and offer tools for learning to plan for succession and prepare our workforce for future success. We recognize and respect that every employee has a voice and opinion that matters; diversity in experience, thought and idea is encouraged.
Building a culture that respects and invests in our people is a strategic priority, but it’s increasingly important as the entire mining industry faces a growing demand for talent. Employment in the mining sector is expected to grow by more than 13% by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How we attract, build and retain top talent will directly impact our long-term success as a company and an industry. That’s why we aim to be viewed as an employer of choice by promoting a culture of safety and environmental compliance, teamwork and collaboration, fairness and consistency, oversight and standardization, communication, and advocacy.
Health and Safety
We depend on one another to operate safely and to protect each other, the community and the environment. Safety is our most foundational value and our employees, their families, local communities and the government want to know how we are meeting our safety goals.
Doe Run’s approach to employee health and safety includes continual training and protective standards that meet or exceed industry and regulatory expectations. Training is critical to helping us keep our employees safe and is required to meet certain compliance and regulatory guidelines, as well as to cover essential work-related skills, techniques and knowledge. We ensure that our employees possess the right skills to help our business succeed, and conduct refreshers to address changes in guidelines, technology, processes, etc.
As a part of training, Doe Run also provides employee development opportunities, which are important to help employees perform their best, develop new skills and enable the company to thrive. We believe this approach fosters greater employee satisfaction, so that they stay with us, become great at what they do and help others become so, too.
We track our training hours for each employee, along with course titles and dates of completion. This data is collected by the training facilitator/subject matter expert, verified and entered into our training database. Supervisors are responsible for confirming that all employees receive required trainings, annual refreshers and/or continuing education, as needed. In 2020, employees participated in approximately 16,000 hours of environmental, health and safety training.
Doe Run also tracks and reports on key health and safety metrics on a monthly and annual basis to identify opportunities for improvement. We track our workforce’s blood-lead levels (the trace amount of lead the body may absorb through exposure), accidents and incident rates. Monthly reports are shared all the way up through the executive level.
Our mining, milling and recycling activities have the potential for employees to be exposed to airborne lead particles. Doe Run employees are trained in proper lead handling and personal hygiene processes to reduce their exposure. Personal protective equipment, like respirators, are worn in areas of exposure, and employees who work in certain areas are required to wash thoroughly and change clothes and shoes before eating or going home each day.
Doe Run’s standards for workforce exposure to lead are more stringent than government requirements, and monthly progress is measured to the microgram, one millionth of a gram. The lead industry voluntarily self-monitors and self-reports the number of employees tested with greater than 19 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood (“μg/dL”). Doe Run reports this information in our Sustainability Report. In addition, on a monthly basis, we track and monitor internally those employees whose blood-lead levels are greater than 14 μg/dL. Doe Run counsels employees who cross a certain threshold to identify particular areas of exposure, and work on individualized plans to address those areas. Employees who exceed 30 μg/dL are temporarily reassigned to a job area with reduced exposure. By comparison, the adjusted OSHA standard for medical reassignment of an employee is 53 μg/dL.
Safety is a core value. We use a variety of mining and manufacturing tools to assist in identifying safety improvement opportunities, and we involve employees to develop solutions to address them. Some examples of routine safety steps employees take include daily work inspections of their work areas to identify any potential hazards and reporting near misses – situations that could have resulted in an accident but did not – to help prevent potential injuries.
Doe Run has won the prestigious Sentinels of Safety mine safety award 28 times and has operations that have surpassed decades without a lost-time incident. We also have two award-winning mine rescue teams that undergo monthly training and compete in mine rescue competitions to keep skills sharp in case they need to aid employees during a real mine emergency. Safely returning our workers home to their families and loved ones at the end of each day is the ultimate goal of our safety and training programs.
One of the reasons we report on our environmental performance each year is to be transparent in our environmental impacts and to keep our neighbors and other stakeholders informed of our efforts to minimize the environmental impact of our operations.
Doe Run’s mining, milling and recycling activities have the potential to result in releases to the air, water or land. Our releases are monitored and reported, as appropriate, to regulatory bodies, including the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
We have a number of measures in place to minimize, treat or prevent releases in order to meet permitted levels. For example, water released from our property must meet limits established in facility-specific operating permits. Doe Run has eight water treatment plants, including five at its mines in the Viburnum Trend and one each at Resource Recycling, Herculaneum and Glover that treat and release water. Air emissions also must meet standards. Doe Run utilizes baghouses, scrubbers, ventilation systems and enclosures to manage these emissions. Our air emissions are regularly monitored and reported, including by air monitors designed to measure concentrations beyond our property line. The vast majority of our land releases are made up of tailings (ground-up rock that is the byproduct of milling and mining), which are stored in permitted areas of our property.
We also use an environmental management system that enables us to monitor air emissions and adjust our processes in real time to reduce our impact. To further monitor and improve in this area, we maintain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) environmental management certifications at all of our active facilities.
When we created our Sustainability Principles, we considered how Doe Run must be a steward of not only the minerals we extract, but also the energy we use in our operations. Energy consumption is one of our largest operating costs for both the mining and metals divisions. Doe Run is one of the largest electricity consumers in Missouri because electric motors run much of our operations, including conveyors, pumps, ventilation fans, rock crushers and hoisting equipment. Total energy consumption includes electricity, fuels (furnace coke, diesel, propane, gasoline), and explosives. Most of the energy consumed is derived from fossil fuels, which produce carbon emissions. Energy usage and costs are tracked and reported monthly for each of the operations. Historically, energy consumption has increased with expansion of the operations over time and is directly proportional to production trends.
To reduce carbon and other emissions, the mining division uses bio-diesel underground where practical. We continue to explore other ways to conserve energy and use cleaner energy options for the good of the environment, society and the bottom line.
We formed an energy team in 2016 with members from both the mining and metals divisions. The team was charged with evaluating energy efficiency and conservation opportunities. The team initiated several energy efficiency projects, including LED lighting replacements, installing variable-frequency drives on vent fan motors, and installing shut-off switches on pumps that do not need to run constantly. We also installed an electric underground hauling system to significantly reduce the use of diesel trucks above ground at one of our sites. As mines age, transportation efficiency over longer haul distances becomes even more important. Conserving energy, reducing costs and/or looking for alternative energy sources are critical to the future of our mines and the economic value they bring our stakeholders.
Members of that team are exploring new ways to improve energy efficiency and hope to have some exciting projects in 2021.
One of our Sustainability Principles is to “minimize the impact of our operations on the environment.” Understanding our product streams, as well as the amount of materials we are able to recycle through our process, helps us measure and manage the resources we consume.
Our stakeholders care about the environment and jobs, so effectively managing natural resources and providing value to the local community by sourcing locally are two examples of why this matters to our stakeholders. Another important topic for our industry is the reuse of materials to limit waste, which is why we report on 301-1 (EN2). We recycle an average of 8.5 million batteries per year, along with other lead-bearing materials, at our Resource Recycling facility. These materials are sourced from battery manufacturers and other business partners. The recovered materials are able to be reused again and again, as part of a circular economy.
We measure all materials we use so we can better evaluate things, like purchasing habits, material sourcing and product options. We continue to look for opportunities for improvement, such as sourcing more materials locally (which can reduce shipping impacts) and choosing alternative renewable materials where feasible.
Doe Run utilizes this data to inform our purchasing decisions, evaluate contracts and select vendors who share our vision for sustainability. By working together, we are able to improve efficiencies throughout our supply chain and source cost-effective materials. Preferences are put on materials that deliver value to the organization, support jobs in local communities and have as little environmental impact as is possible.
Water is particularly important in Southeast Missouri, where many creeks, streams and river tributaries run near our operations. These waterways provide recreation for the community, and responsible use of these resources is important to us, as well as our neighbors.
We measure our water discharge data to track our progress in returning clean water to the environment. Approximately 59 million gallons of water come in contact with our operations every day, naturally flowing through our mines, falling as rain on our property or used in our process. We pump water that comes from the mines and mills to large tailings storage facilities on our property, where lead, zinc and copper particles can settle out of the water. At some locations, we are able to pump mine water directly to our mills for use in the milling process first, then discharge the process water to the tailings storage facilities.
Five water treatment plants process water from mine tailings storage facilities and three water treatment plants cover our Herculaneum, Glover and Resource Recycling facilities. Our water treatment plants use a chemical technology, similar to municipal water treatment plants, to remove metals and impurities. We monitor the water to ensure it meets permit limits, then discharge it into local streams.
Since overhauling our water management approach with these high-tech facilities, Doe Run has been able to process and discharge water more efficiently and meet more stringent water quality standards. The water treatment plants have also increased our capacity to handle high surges of water in the event of heavy storms.
At Fabricated Products, Inc. – a wholly owned subsidiary of Doe Run – we rely on two retention basins to collect rainwater runoff at the lead fabrication plant in Casa Grande, Arizona. This reduces the load on the municipal storm water and sewer system.
Additionally, we keep the quality of water in mind when remediating historic mine sites. At some remediation sites, we have rerouted streams and created stormwater diversions to manage water quality. We also sometimes cap slag and chat piles, so wind and water erosion cannot carry these particles into nearby water sources.
Our activities are subject to a wide range of laws and regulations governing worker health and safety, land use, environmental protections, and many other areas. Compliance in this regulatory environment is crucial to securing our license to operate and protecting our reputation.
Our commitment to conduct business in a manner that adheres to all applicable laws and regulations is stated in our Business Code of Conduct and supported by our policies and standards.
We also participate in key voluntary compliance and reporting programs to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and good governance. We hold International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications at 10 of our facilities to help us maintain environmental (ISO 14001) and product (ISO 9001) quality standards. These sites undergo third-party certification to ensure ISO standards are met. Our Environmental Management System (EMS) follows ISO standards to help Doe Run ensure that measures are properly implemented to meet environmental regulations. Within this program is the Environmental Task Management System (ETMS), which integrates our environmental tasks into a calendar system with reminders that allows us to track the completion of reoccurring tasks, such as sampling events. This system is critical to our ability to manage compliance efforts and meet ISO standards.
In addition to internal efforts to verify performance, regulators in each regulatory regime in which we operate closely monitor our activities. Sites are frequently inspected by state and federal government agencies that review our operational, health and safety, and environmental performance. Our mines in the U.S. are subject to regulation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). MSHA personnel conduct inspections on a regular basis.
Some of these inspections may result in alleged violations, which may result in citations and orders. These citations and orders may result in fines or penalties. We take these alleged violations seriously and work with the issuing agency to resolve any issues.
Doe Run generates financial value by mining and milling lead, copper, and zinc ore, producing concentrates, and recovering lead metal through the recycling of nearly 8.5 million lead batteries each year.
We engage in a rigorous planning process each year in which we allocate the resources generated by the business. During that process, we try to balance our investments in a way that is most fair to all of our stakeholders by reinvesting in our business and employees, protecting the environment, improving the local economy, and providing a return to our investors.
Doe Run takes this approach in order to appropriately allocate resources to each of our priorities, balancing the changing needs of each one. This will allow us to continue serving a valuable role in the community for years to come.
- We strive to ensure that we invest sufficiently in the community, through paying taxes and royalties, donating to local causes, and paying fair wages to employees.
- It is important that we continue to reinvest in our operations to ensure our long-term sustainability.
- We are also committed to the environment we live and operate in, and invest significant resources into monitoring, mitigating and improving our impact on the environment.
Doe Run follows rigorous procedures for its internal control systems. These procedures include conscientious design of systems, with a focus on segregation of duties wherever practicable, and proper documentation and annual testing of the operations of these systems. Doe Run also undergoes external audits by an independent accounting firm, which adheres to Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) as established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Doe Run has written procedures and policies in place to ensure the accuracy and completeness of our financial records and the effectiveness of our internal control systems, particularly in such areas as accounting, purchasing, vendor receipts and customer transactions. In addition, the legal department reviews contracts for business risks and potential conflicts of interest. The decision to take these steps is consistent with our desire to conduct business ethically and responsibly.