Lead saw the construction of the pyramids and the rise of modern civilization, and went on to play an integral role in today’s technology, from cars to cell phones to computers. If we don’t take the good times for granted, if we correctly manage our challenges and exercise good stewardship, this ancient metal still has plenty of energy for the future.
St. Louis (PRWEB) March 4, 2008
Lead predates the pyramids, but can still have a bright future if the industry’s managers work for sustainability, Bruce Neil said today as the keynote speaker of the International Lead Conference. Neil is president and chief executive officer of The Doe Run Company, one of the world’s leading integrated lead producers.
“Leadership in our industry requires that we continue to take advantage of lead’s performance characteristics in ways that are responsible and sustainable,” Neil said, in a presentation titled ''Ancient Metal, Today’s Market Reality – What Vision for the Future.'' He was the opening speaker for a two-day International Lead Conference sponsored by the trade publication Metal Bulletin.
“Success requires management of multiple priorities. Profit is only one bottom line,” he said. “Our performance must measure up for employees, neighbors and the environment as well as by traditional financial metrics.”
Neil noted that some three-quarters of the world’s lead is used in batteries, either to start internal combustion engines, power electric vehicles or provide backup power for vital services like computer, telephone and mobile networks as well as hospitals and emergency services. These lead-acid batteries are recycled more than any other consumer product. In the U.S., some 97 percent are recycled, forming a virtual closed loop system to eliminate waste.
A top lead producer in North America, Doe Run is also a leading recycler. Each year, the company converts some 13.5 million lead-acid batteries back into raw materials for new battery production. Operating one of the most advanced facilities in the world, Doe Run even recovers and recycles lead from glass in old cathode ray tubes found in computer monitors and television screens.
“This robust recycling infrastructure makes our company more sustainable,” Neil said.
As a member of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, Doe Run was among the sponsors of a 100,000-mile test drive of a hybrid car powered with lead-acid batteries. The test demonstrated that lead-acid batteries are at least as durable as nickel metal hydride (NiMH) technology, more efficient and lower in cost – about $800 for a hybrid car compared to $4,000 for the NiMH used in most hybrids on the market today.
“Through these efforts, we have demonstrated that the workhorse lead-acid battery system still belongs in the race with newer technologies,” Neil said. “As this technology is refined, we may be able to help make hybrid vehicles more affordable, which will make the new technology more sustainable for the long term.”
Neil noted that lead producers are currently enjoying a period of high demand and strong markets after a challenging period. Managers should use this period to build strong relationships and a foundation for the future, he said.
“Success comes only when we make the right decisions and investments to create a healthy industry for both suppliers and customers. Success requires constructive partnerships among thriving companies, strong communities and a healthy environment,” Neil said.
“Lead saw the construction of the pyramids and the rise of modern civilization, and went on to play an integral role in today’s technology, from cars to cell phones to computers. If we don’t take the good times for granted, if we correctly manage our challenges and exercise good stewardship, this ancient metal still has plenty of energy for the future.”
Neil has spent more than 30 years in the metals industry, spanning four companies and three countries. A native Canadian, he joined Doe Run in 1998 serving initially as operations manager of a smelter in Glover, Mo., and later as general manager. Under his leadership, the Glover facility achieved the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for seven consecutive years before being placed on care-and-maintenance status.
In 2003, Neil served as president of Doe Run Peru, which is now a sister corporation to The Doe Run Company. During his tenure in Peru, Neil led the company through years of record-low metal prices and unstable market conditions. While overseeing nearly 4,000 employees in Peru, Neil worked to reach consensus with the Peruvian Government and authorities on environmental operating agreements, and fostered greater sustainable development opportunities with local and regional community stakeholders.
In 2006, Neil was named president and chief executive officer for The Doe Run Company where he steers one of the world’s largest suppliers of lead products and related services, and one of the world’s largest, single-site lead recycling facilities.
Prior to joining Doe Run, Neil held positions with ASARCO in Nebraska and Missouri, with Timminco in Ontario, and with Noranda’s smelters in Quebec and New Brunswick.
For photos, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/doerunphotos/2293419679/
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 http://www.doerun.com.