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Dupont DeLisle
E.I. Du Pont de Nemours

     Founded in 1802 in Wilmington, Delaware, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company is one of the premier manufacturers in the world.  For its first 100 years, the firm specialized in explosives production.  Early products included black powder, gunpowder, and dynamite.  
     Following the turn of the twentieth century, Du Pont began to diversify into fields such as basic chemicals, plastics, textile fibers, synthetic rubber, pigments, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and electronics.
     Today, more than 165,000 employees work in the plants , laboratories, offices, oil fields, mines, refineries, and other facilities worldwide.  Du Pont's acquisition of Conoco in 1981 made it the eighth-largest industrial corporation in the country at that time, adding petroleum, coal, and mineral operations to its business portfolio.  Du Pont now has eight major product segments, ranging from biomedical, industrial, fiber, and polymer products to by-products of petroleum refining and exploration.
     In December 1979 Du Pont dedicated its DeLisle, Mississippi, plant to the manufacture of titanium dioxide. This facility, the firm’s fourth such plant, provides employment for more that 580 people, with an annual payroll of over $18 million.  The plant's rated capacity is 150,000 tons of titanium dioxide annually and construction costs exceeded $150 million.  The plant facility rests  on 200 acres of a 2,280-acre site on the Bay of St. Louis, located five miles north of Pass Christian.

     The plant site's history can be  traced to 1850, when William A. Wittfield founded Shelley Plantation.  Prior to that, stories of local residents tell of an ancient Indian tribe harvesting oysters and fish from the Bay waters.  Mounds of oyster shells and burial mounds remained intact on the site for many years.
     The plantation continued until 1925, when the land was purchased to build a luxury hotel, clubhouse and golf course, named Pine Hills Lodge.  The $1.3-million hotel facility opened in 1926, but only a small portion of the 2,300-acre site was ever developed.
     In 1983 Du Pont purchased the adjacent eighty-acre hotel site for two million dollars to be used as a "good neighbor" buffer zone. between manufacturing operations and the surrounding community.
     Actual construction on the Du Pont site began in 1976.  Many factors made Harrison County, Mississippi, attractive, including a high-quality work force, shipping access through the port of Gulfport, a good road network, potential for rail shipments, ample fresh water, attractive construction costs, available utilities, and community facilities to attract and hold employees.
     Of the 580 employees who work around the clock to produce titanium dioxide, 97 percent live in the coastal three-county area.  In addition to salaries and wages, Du Pont employees enjoy a “benefits package” that includes a savings and investment plan, medical and dental coverage, pension, and paid vacation.  Du Pont is an equal opportunity employer.
     The DeLisle plant has had and continues to have positive economic impact on the local community and the state of Mississippi.  In addition to the $18-million payroll, local goods and services purchased contribute another $16 million to the local economy.  It has always been Du Pont's policy to pay its fair share of taxes where it operates a plant.  In 1984 the DeLisle plant paid $1.2 million in taxes.  Conoco operations in Mississippi also paid more than $2 million in 1983.  In addition, gasoline and product taxes collected by Conoco for the state were nearly one million dollars.
     Being a good neighbor means that Du Pont and its employees promote and participate in the civic, social, and cultural activities of the community.  In 1984 the 580 DeLisle employees donated $33,000 to the United Way.
     The DeLisle plant's only product, titanium dioxide, is an inert, non-toxic white pigment widely used in paints, inks, paper, textile fibers, and plastics to impart whiteness, brightness, and opacity.  Surface-coating paints, varnishes, and lacquers account for approximately 50 percent of the titanium dioxide consumed in the United States each year.  Paper accounts for another 10 percent and plastics, rubber, textiles, and many smaller uses account for the rest.
     More than 700,000 tons of titanium dioxide are used annually in the United States.  The finished product is packed and shipped to all parts of the country and all regions of the world.
     Safety has always been one of the highest priorities at Du Pont.  This concern has helped the firm achieve the best safety record among all large manufacturing concerns in the United states.
     Dedication to safety is much in evidence at the DeLisle plant.  Its best record is nearly three million exposure-hours without a time-losing injury.  In 1983 the plant became the first chemical facility in the United States to receive the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health, (OSHA) Star Award.
     A wide-ranging industrial hygiene program at the DeLisle plant features evaluation of chemical exposures with air-monitoring devices, and prescribes engineering and operational control of exposure to materials handled during titanium dioxide manufacturing.  Employees use protective equipment such as acid suits, respirators, and goggles.  A comprehensive program of medical surveillance is provided.  Du Pont's objective is to produce titanium dioxide without harm to its employees or to the environment.
     At DeLisle, in addition to maintaining the natural beauty of the environment, there is an on-site wastewater treatment and state-of-the-art deep well disposal systems engineered to dispose of all wastes economically and safely.  Capital committed to pollution-abatement facilities at the plant is $40 million, and the annual operating and maintenance cost for this investment is $1.2 million.

Du Pont DeLisle Plant employs over 580 mechanical, laboratory, production, and office and clerical workers.The company's DeLisle plant has the capacity to produce 150,000 tons of supreme titanium dioxide annually to meet its customers needs.

Written sometime in 1995 or 1996.

Origins of Dupont-DeLisle

     The Dupont search teams realized that a Mexican Gulf Coast plant would be most ideal for its processing of Lithium Dioxide because even though the ore was brought all the way from Australia, the shortest distance to the States and points of distribution even after routing through the Panama Canal, was found here.  After the team arrived at several site selections, their first choice was the Bay of St. Louis at DeLisle.

     As Nap Cassibry explained it, Lt. Governor William Winter had been contacted and he saw the opportunity for success in Mississippi being selected  – it was deemed necessary to maintain a decorum of secrecy.  He proceeded by contacting Nap Cassibry, a Coast Senator at the time, who he could rely on in putting the deal together.
     Nap was a also a member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Manufacturer's Association.  This placed him in an ideal position to establish the meeting place and setting.  A strategy meeting was called which included all the major players.  Continuing with a regard for confidentiality, the location was determined to be outside Tupelo at Rockwell International's corporate hunting lodge.
     The players included such other persons as Butch Lambert, who was on the Tax Commission and Head of the Ways and Means Committee.  Also attending were the Speakers of the State House and Senate, and the legislative heads of the Appropriations Committees.  On that weekend in the '70s, Lt. Gov. Winter flew in by National Guard helicopter from Jackson, and all the other state leaders drove in secrecy to the rendezvous.  DuPont's executive, Mr. Smith and two of his administrators took a circuitous route by flying to Memphis and renting a car to make the drive to Tupelo.  During all communications and contacts, Governor Waller was kept in the dark for fear that he would impede the process.
     They remained until the entire orchestration was arranged to the satisfaction of all concerned.  Even the legislative package was completed before they adjourned --- and Ellis Bodron, Speaker of the Senate from Vicksburg was designated to introduce the legislation.
     Nap Cassibry was there to protect the conservation interests such as reviewing the plans for a required Deep Well Injection System.
     Transporting the imported ore from the port of Gulfport was a major concern that was first discussed as being placed aboard barges that would be floated to the Bay of St. Lous. That consideration would require dredging the Bay of St. Louis.  This was out of the question, so the attending Harrison County representatives (Supervisor Billy McDonald) agreed to provide County right-of-way for the Dupont DeLisle railway spur from Gulfport to DeLisle.  County Bonds were set up with the agreement that Dupont would buy them.
     Dupont's Mr. Smith made the necessary concessions and verbally toasted the conclusions by stating that Dupont de Nemours was French and he liked the idea of the name association of Dupont-DeLisle.
Dupont celebrates its 25th year Anniversary in October 2004

Go to Dupont DeLisle Controversies

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