Mark Coomes, vice president – human resources and community relations for Doe Run, believes that gathering community feedback helps Doe Run better learn how to meet the community’s needs. “The best way to ensure we are acting as good neighbors is to ask our communities what we are doing well and where there is room for improvement,” said Coomes. “Our 2014 community survey revealed that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe Doe Run has a good relationship with our communities. While this is an improvement of nearly 20 percentage points since 2012, it also shows we still have progress to make. Gathering this feedback helps us be an even better neighbor.”
Since the company was founded, Doe Run and the communities in which it operates have grown together. The company thrived thanks to the hard working employees driving its operations, and the company giving back to these communities by helping to build infrastructure, schools and more. Doe Run continues to keep its local communities in mind when making business decisions. That’s why in 2014, Doe Run again surveyed its communities to learn what matters most to them.
More than 300 residents from the areas where Doe Run operates — including Boss, Herculaneum, Viburnum and the area known as The Old Lead Belt in St. Francois County, Missouri — completed surveys for the study conducted by The Survey Institute of St. Louis.
Community Notes Jobs and Economy are Key Concerns
Nearly 60 percent of respondents said their most important concern is economic issues such as jobs, unemployment and the high cost of living.
“We know good jobs and a strong local economy are a major concern for our neighbors,” said Steve Batts, general manager, Southeast Missouri Mining and Milling Division (SEMO). “We strive to employ people in the areas where we operate. In 2014, we employed more than 1,400 people from 22 Missouri counties, and hope to continue providing good-paying jobs for our communities.
“Jobs are important to communities and important to us. In fact, we face an interesting challenge in the near future — like many industries, the mining industry has a large portion of its workforce nearing retirement age. We are in great need of young students to pursue degrees and careers that support mining and metal production.”
The mining industry is expected to grow by 5 to 6 percent annually through 2025. In addition, The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration estimates the industry will need 78,000 new workers by 2019 to replace retiring workers and support industry growth.
In Missouri alone, mining operations indirectly support more than 33,380 jobs in a highly skilled, high-paying profession, according to the National Mining Association’s 2014 study. Compensation for employees in Doe Run’s Metals and SEMO Divisions averages $75,934 (excluding benefits), which is 54 percent higher than Missouri’s average wage of $49,215.
“We know that many of our positions are very technical and require specific education,” said Batts. “Because of this, we support minerals education for elementary-age students and other programs that we hope spark an interest in a mining or engineering career among our local students so they can pursue the needed education and return to be our future workforce.”
Doe Run employees visit schools and youth organizations to teach students about mining and the uses of minerals in everyday life with fun activities.
“Activities like chocolate chip cookie mining teach children what goes into running a mining operation in a fun, hands-on way,” said Batts. “We enjoy visiting classrooms or youth organizations anytime we’re invited. We’ve also made minerals education teaching tools available on our website.”
The company annually provides more than $10,000 in scholarships for students in Doe Run’s communities studying chemistry, engineering, mining and geology. Students can apply for the scholarships by contacting financial aid departments at Mineral Area College and Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Underground Mine Tour
“Again this year, community members told us they want to know that their family members, friends and neighbors are safe while working at Doe Run facilities,” said Coomes. “We agree. That’s why we’re committed to training all of our employees about job safety. Working safely is essential to ensure the well-being of our employees and keep our operations running smoothly.”
The company continues to implement safety programs, like Job Safety Analysis and Behavior Based Safety. These programs encourage employees to think through a job before they begin, and offer guidelines to supervisors on providing immediate feedback about safety practices. Continuous improvement keeps safety top of mind. Employees companywide completed nearly 19,000 health and safety training hours in 2014.
Doe Run’s award-winning mine rescue teams train monthly to prepare for potential emergency response scenarios. Read more about Doe Run’s safety achievements at Awards and Achievements.
Doe Run and its neighbors share a rich environment in southeast Missouri.
“In the 2014 survey, our community members said Doe Run improved in minimizing its environmental impact,” said Coomes. “We’ve been working diligently over the years to improve processes at our operations, and invested $71.9 million in total environmental spending in 2014 as good stewards in our communities.” (Read more at Optimizing Environmental Investments)
In 2014, Doe Run and its employees focused on conservation efforts to preserve the region’s natural beauty. Employees joined the Nature Conservancy to clear overgrown trails and repair portions of boundary fences at Grasshopper Hollow, the largest fen in North America. Doe Run volunteers also supported the local Stream Team program by removing hundreds of tires and other waste from the Big River, Meramec River and Rock Creek.
Beautiful Grasshopper Hollow lies on Doe Run property near Bunker, Missouri, and is open for the community to visit.