A Commitment To Nature
As the owners of some of the world's largest mining, metals and manufacturing companies, The Renco Group has a vested stake in operating in an environmentally responsible manner. In fact, since 1990 Renco Group portfolio companies have spent in excess of $700 million on environmental improvement projects. For us, that sense of responsibility and the projects for which our companies devote capital goes far beyond complying with the mere letter of the law. It means constantly striving to achieve higher standards of environmental performance and developing innovative new technologies. It means developing recycling expertise in order to reduce the usage of scarce resources. It means taking lands that were mined by our companies or mined and abandoned by others and restoring them to a virtually natural state. It means maintaining an open dialogue with our neighbors in the communities in which our companies operate and being responsive to their needs and concerns. It means not just doing what is required, but doing what is right.
FULL COMPLIANCE. The companies of The Renco Group operate in some of the most stringently regulated businesses in the world. Our goal is not just to meet but exceed, to the best of our ability, all environmental standards set forth by the myriad of federal, state and local regulatory agencies that monitor our companies' operations. One example of this work with regulatory agencies is at Unarco Material Handling, Inc., a company that has voluntarily spent significant funds on site and soil cleanup from prior tenant environmental hazards. At Unarco's facility, new wells were installed and monitored and any soil contaminants were pumped and discharged. As a result of the company's efforts, The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has since granted Unarco a letter deeming their site free of any unsafe or hazardous soil conditions. Another example of work with regulators is at The Doe Run Company where various stages of the lead production process come into contact with water. At all points, the collection, treatment, use and discharge of water is regulated. As water discharge permit limits become even more stringent, Doe Run is working alongside regulatory agencies on developing plans to meet them. Doe Run facilities are voluntarily developing surface water management plans to help meet permit limits and proactively explore impacts to surface water.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES. In recent years, by making substantial capital investments, our member companies have made huge strides in lowering emissions by taking advantage of new technologies to streamline operations, improve efficiency and recycle waste. For example, under Renco ownership, US Magnesium has directed in excess of $70 million to capital projects related to improving environmental performance and energy conservation through technology improvements. Through the implementation of innovative gas capturing equipment and electrolyzer cells, chlorine emissions have been reduced 99% from 1989 levels and total air emissions from the cells have been reduced by 95%. The company's internally developed manufacturing cells are best in class and represent a quantum improvement in the technology employed by predecessor and competing companies. Implemented in 2001, the proprietary cells have reduced unit energy consumption by 25% and led to the company being awarded the prestigious Utah Manufacturing Environmental Consciousness Award for 2007. Another such example of technological advancement at a Renco affiliate company is at Unarco where the company invested in a multimillion dollar powder coat paint line which has significantly reduced the generation of hazardous waste. Unarco also joined with the University of Tennessee to determine whether powder paint waste granules can be used to enhance microbial activity in soil. New colors are continually being developed from waste powder paint with particles that are too small to reclaim and use. These particles, instead, can be blended into special colors instead of ending up in a land fill.
RECYCLING. Making more productive use of the by-products of our companies' operations is another key environmental practice of The Renco Group portfolio companies. Several of our companies use waste generated by others as a resource for their own operations. Doe Run's Resource Recycling Division at Boss, Missouri recycles a significant amount of all of the lead-acid batteries used in the United States and, in the process, converts more than 13.5 million lead-acid batteries back into raw materials for new battery production and has the capacity to recover and recycle up to 160,000 tons of refined lead each year. Nationwide, the recycling rate for lead-acid batteries exceeds 95%, higher than aluminum, paper and glass, making it the #1 recycled consumer product. Not only is the lead-acid battery recycled more thoroughly than these other products, but by recovering the lead from the battery, Doe Run is also able to produce high-quality lead for customers' reuse. Because the U.S. lead-battery industry is virtually a closed loop, lead metal can be recycled over and over again. As a result, lead recycling is considered an environmental success story - for industry, regulators, consumers and those concerned with the responsible use of natural resources.
Recycling also helps preserve limited natural resources, and Doe Run's facility recovers tons of materials that otherwise would be thrown away. In total, Doe Run recycles and processes more than 460 million pounds of discarded material annually. In addition to batteries, recycled materials include lead bullets and shot, lead-containing glass from television and computer screens and lead-based paint chips from abatement projects. The company also operates a cable stripping facility that focuses specifically on processing discarded telephone and electrical cable to recover the lead and copper within.
Another example of an affiliate company's recycling efforts is at Unarco where nearly ten million pounds of scrap metal and dunnage, including wooden pallets and metal banding, are separated and recycled at manufacturing facilities each year. In addition, chemicals and solvents are reclaimed and later sent off for fuel re-blending or distilled for reuse.
CONSERVATION. Careful utilization of natural resources is a core focus of Renco Group portfolio companies. Preservation and protection of air, land and water resources is only achieved through vigilant and prudent management. One such conservation effort is US Magnesium's use of solar energy. The company is the largest user of solar energy for solar evaporation in the United States and one of the largest users in the world. Use of solar energy, as an alternative to electric power has helped conserve natural resources and reduced Utah's natural gas consumption by over 50%. Utilization of an alternative to fossil fuels also helps to avoid 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions at an electric utility each year.
RECLAMATION. Wherever they operate, the companies of The Renco Group pay careful attention to minimizing their impact on the surrounding landscape. Often, they leave the land better than when they arrived. They are committed to doing no less. The Doe Run Company, through the use of its own full time crew and local contractors, has successfully achieved remediation of historic mining sites in full compliance with the EPA's selected and approved remedies while, since 2001, spending over $63 million remediating historic liabilities dating to the 1860s. The photos below show before and after views (from different perspectives) of the remediation of a 1929 tailings basin in Montana - difficult terrain with short growing seasons.
PRESERVATION. Renco affiliate companies have also been leaders in local land preservation efforts. One such example is at US Magnesium where the company has donated land, money and human resources to facilitate the development of a Wildlife Interpretive Center on Stansbury Island on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Since opening in 2010, the Interpretive Center provides wetlands access to the public and hands-on learning to supplement wetlands educational materials provided to local students.
COMMUNITY AWARENESS. Each Renco Group company is managed locally, by men and women who recognize the importance of maintaining an open dialogue on environmental issues and fostering greater community awareness and understanding of their activities. They do this in a variety of ways, such as publishing community annual reports documenting their environmental performance, hosting town hall meetings to answer local residents' questions and participating in industry-wide education and public outreach initiatives.
Other support programs focus on specific environmental concerns. For example, AM General Corp., manufacturer of the Humvee®, has devoted significant time and money to become a major sponsor of "Tread Lightly," a national awareness program that encourages operators of four-wheel-drive vehicles to respect the off-road environment. At The Renco Group, we take great pride in the environmental accomplishments of our member companies and are committed to supporting their efforts in this vital area.
RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT. The Renco Group is steadfast in its commitment to environmental responsibility, a commitment that each of our operating companies consistently upholds. Each shares a pledge to reduce its environmental impact and emissions in all aspects of operations. To meet this goal, every Renco Group-affiliated company is engaged in programs to meet or exceed all applicable government and industry standards while also developing environmentally responsible technologies, recycling and resource management strategies and reclamation practices.