March 2014 marked the 150th anniversary of The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) and its predecessor, St. Joseph Lead Company, which traces its roots to an 1864 land purchase of 946 acres in Bonne Terre, Missouri. The company honored its anniversary with a yearlong celebration of its past and current employees, its local communities, and mining’s contribution to Missouri’s history and economy.
A cross-functional team of 10 employees from the company’s mines, mills, recycling facility and corporate headquarters planned the anniversary activities. The committee focused on community events and public education through local media coverage and a regional advertising campaign titled “Mined Here. Produced Here. Recycled Here. Employed Here.”
“Our goal was to educate our communities about our role in Missouri’s history, and to commemorate how mining and metal production shaped the state’s economy in the past, and continues to contribute to society today,” said senior communications liaison and campaign manager, Tammy Stankey.
The 150th anniversary education campaign included:
- The DoeRunCelebrates150.com interactive timeline documenting 50 key events in the company’s history.
- A brochure highlighting historical facts shared with 3,000 employees and retirees, and distributed at community events.
- A video documentary utilizing historical film and employee interviews recorded at the Missouri Historical Mine Museum.
- A series of “Miners’ Moments” in which employees shared their favorite company memory with the community on local radio stations.
- A historical photography slide show presented during Old Miners’ Days in Viburnum, Missouri.
- Participation in nine community parades and events.
- Appreciation gifts and celebrations for employees and retirees.
- A print, radio and billboard advertising campaign to highlight the number of people employed, and the volume of ore mined and lead-acid batteries recycled by Doe Run.
Doe Run's Anniversary Campaign
Doe Run Celebrates 150 Years
“We spent months uncovering documents and photos that captured Doe Run’s rich and resilient history, and we are proud to share that history with community members — many of whom have a direct connection to Doe Run and our predecessors,” said Jim Husman, Doe Run senior resource geologist for more than 30 years. “Throughout its early history, the company persevered through floods, wars, rudimentary mining and smelting techniques, and the Great Depression. When ore at the original location was nearly depleted, company geologists discovered the Viburnum Trend, which is today a world-class ore body and an operation renown as an innovator for safe, high-tonnage underground mining throughout the world. I’m proud to be a part of this history and help preserve it for decades to come.”
To highlight some of the company’s rich tradition of innovation, Doe Run showcased a refurbished St. Joe Shovel, the world’s first electric shovel for mining that was designed by company engineers. Originally built in 1922, the shovel was one of only 52 that were built to replace hand shoveling in the company’s Missouri mining operations. A typical hand-shoveling employee loaded about 21 tons of rock in one day. With the St. Joe Shovel, an operator could load nearly 300 tons each day. By comparison today, Doe Run operates front-end loaders underground that weigh 34 tons with a capacity of 9 tons in each bucket load. The restored shovel traveled to seven Missouri parades in 2014.
Innovation within the industry continues today, and in 2014, Doe Run, in partnership with the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, showcased a prototype Dodge Ram 1500 powered by natural gas and advanced lead-based batteries at the Missouri University of Science and Technology as part of educating future engineers about technologies that can reduce carbon emissions, improve fuel efficiency and utilize natural resources to power affordable hybrid vehicles.
“Doe Run has a proud history as both a great employer and an innovator,” said Jerry Pyatt, Doe Run president and CEO. “Few companies today have thrived as long as we have. We’ve done so as a result of the efforts of our employees, our commitment to safety, and our desire to find new and better ways to do things. As proud as I am of our history, I’m even more pleased with the opportunities we are working on today to make Missouri mining and metal production more sustainable for generations to come.”
Doe Run continues to operate the second-largest lead mining district in the world and one of the largest single-site lead recycling smelters. Global demand for lead is expected to grow 5 to 6 percent annually to 16 million metric tons per year by 2025. Whether by researching the recovery of valuable metal from legacy mine waste products, diversifying metal products from its secondary plant, or by exploring potential uses for the company’s proprietary lead electrowinning process, Doe Run continues to innovate to meet the demands of the future.
Read more about Doe Run’s history at DoeRunCelebrates150.com.
A Look Back
Over the last 150 years, southeast Missouri’s major lead ore bodies, the Old Lead Belt and the Viburnum Trend, have supplied the world with high-purity lead that is vital to many industries.
In its 150 years, the company has produced almost 17 million tons, or 34 billion pounds, of primary lead metal.
Doe Run’s secondary lead smelter in southeast Missouri helps meet the industry’s lead demand by having the capacity to recycle and recover approximately 160,000 tons of refined lead and lead alloys annually from more than 13.5 million recycled lead-acid batteries, which are the world’s most recycled consumer product.
Annually, each American utilizes 45,557 pounds of minerals, including lead, which is critical to transportation, communications, construction, healthcare, military and technology.
Thanks to the Doe Run 150th anniversary team: John Boyer, Jay Doty, Kim Dyer, Samantha Hedrick, Jim Husman, John Likarish, David Major, Rhonda Reed, Steve Smith, Tammy Stankey and Ben Walczak.