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Doe Run Mine Rescue Team Captures National Championship Title

ST. LOUIS (August 12, 2010) – The Doe Run Company’s Missouri-based mine rescue teams recently captured the highest mine rescue honors in the nation – as well as the company’s best finish in its 35-year mine rescue contest history. From July 27 to 29, Doe Run’s Maroon and Gray teams competed in the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) 2010 Metal/Nonmetal National Mine Rescue Contest. Doe Run’s Maroon Team prevailed against 38 other teams from 16 states to win the field competition, capturing the national championship title. Doe Run’s Gray Team also qualified for the final round, marking the first time in history that both teams advanced.

“Safety is paramount to our business, so all of us at Doe Run not only appreciate, but also applaud the employees who dedicate their time to this critical area,” said Jerry Pyatt, Doe Run’s vice president, domestic operations and chief operating officer. “Although Doe Run’s mine rescue teams won the awards, the real winners are our employees working underground, who go to work every day knowing the best mine rescuers in the nation are at the ready.”

To win, the team managed a simulated mine emergency that tested how well its members adhered to mine rescue procedures and how quickly they completed specific tasks. The Maroon Team consists of Luke Davis, Denny Dickerson, Andrew Hampton, Steve Kearns, Jerry Laramore, Ricky Martin, Shawn Pratt and Steve Setzer.

Two members of Doe Run’s Gray Team, Garry Moore, Jr. and Kenny Wood, were also awarded honors with a third place finish in the two-man technician competition. That event tests the team’s skills on mine rescue equipment, including breathing units, gas detectors and communications systems. Recently, Moore and Wood earned third place in the same event at the 40th Southern Regional Mine Recue Classic in New Iberia, La. The Gray Team includes Brad Beck, Randy Hill, Kevin James, Wayne Marlin, Garry Moore, Jr., Kenny Sherrill, Charlie Walker and Kenny Wood.

“Competitions like these are invaluable, because they simulate the same type of pressure the teams face underground in a real emergency,” said Bob Roscoe, who served on Doe Run’s mine rescue team for 20 years, and currently serves as Doe Run’s vice president of mining. “By training and testing year-round, mine rescuers have already been drilled on multiple situations. If an event occurs, they respond cohesively, efficiently and almost naturally.” 

Staying at the top of their game requires rigorous training. For preparation, Doe Run’s mine rescue teams train eight hours monthly. They’re drilled on emergency scenarios using the most current technology available. The regimen increases to 40 hours monthly during competition season, which sharpens skills and brings rescuers together to share best practices. Doe Run’s teams train by simulating emergency response disasters at the company’s West Fork Mine, located in southeastern Missouri. Scenarios are often created by the opposing team or team alumni. Team members then collaborate and critique each other, and learn from the expertise and best practices shared by tenured team members.

This fall, both of Doe Run’s mine rescue teams will compete in the 28th annual Southeast Missouri Mine Rescue Contest at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, Mo. Last year, the Maroon Team successfully captured the Best in State title for a record fourth consecutive year. In November, the Maroon and Gray technician teams will compete against the best in the world, in the International Mine Rescue Competition near Sydney, Australia.

Doe Run’s success in mine rescue contests correlates to its overall safety record. Because of Doe Run’s commitment to safe mining practices, the company’s six underground lead mines, located in Missouri’s Viburnum Trend, have earned the prestigious Sentinels of Safety Award more than 24 times since 1971.

All new mining employees undergo 40 hours of in-depth safety training on MSHA guidelines. In addition, Doe Run has built emergency safety features into the mines, including a number of secondary escape shafts and ventilation holes. The mines, many of which are interconnected by miles of underground roadways, have also established a number of underground designated points of safety. These safe areas contain breathing air, drinking water, first-aid supplies and phones.

Lead mining in Missouri is conducted entirely underground, usually at a depth of 800 feet to 1,200 feet below the surface. At this level, the mines consist mainly of dolomite, a strong type of rock with natural geologic properties that make it naturally stable. For added safety, Doe Run uses careful and methodic mining practices, including the room-and-pillar mining method in which rock pillars (up to 35 feet wide and 120 feet tall) support the ground above. Mine ceilings are also secured with roof bolts, which help support up to 18 tons of rock in active mine areas. Doe Run also utilizes remote mining, in which an electronic remote control unit allows miners to safely operate a loader and excavate blasted ore from hundreds of feet away.

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 subsidiaries 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.

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