Tribute to US mines and mining companies

Four US mineral mining companies have been awarded for their environmental and community outreach efforts by the Department of the Interior. The department has also honoured 11 US coal mines for exemplary efforts to reclaim mined land for beneficial uses and for attending to the needs of local communities. Further recognition was granted to 20 US mines for outstanding safety performance.

The Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards are presented each year by the Bureau of Land Management to mineral mines that demonstrate exceptional environmental stewardship and community relations. This year four companies have been recognized. “The mines we honour this evening show how practices that integrate economic activity with community service make our environment and our communities stronger and more sustainable,” National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Kraig Naasz said at the annual awards dinner sponsored by NMA.

“This year’s honourees again demonstrate that today’s mining companies can provide the nation with essential minerals and metals, while at the same time providing local communities with jobs from ongoing mining operations and economic opportunities by reclaiming mine lands,” said Naasz.

  • ·    Idarado Mining won the 2006 Hardrock Mineral Director’s Award. The company worked closely with the State of Colorado and the local communities of Telluride and Ouray on a mine closure and reclamation project that featured innovative engineering techniques, water management and vegetative covers to preserve the historic legacy of the area, which dates back to the 1800s. Much of the company’s land has been returned to public use in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land
  • ·    Meridian Gold‘s, Beartrack mine project, located in Salmon, Idaho, won the 2006 Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award. The company is completing reclamation of this open-pit, heap leach operation that employed up to 165 workers from 1994 to 2000 and today holds the state record for the highest annual gold production from a single mine. Meridian has continuously been cited for its environmental and safety accomplishments at Beartrack, as well as for its commitment to the people of Lemhi County and its cooperation with state and federal regulators
  • ·    Coeur Alaska‘s Kensington mine, located near Juneau, Alaska, won the 2006 Hardrock Community Outreach and Economic Security Award. Coeur Alaska employs about 300 people working to construct this mine in a historic mining area near the state capital and expects production to begin next year. The company developed a ‘mutual gains’ approach designed to solicit opinions of all land user groups in the region and then worked effectively with each to identify and address community concerns about the project. Recognition of the rich cultural heritage of the area was key to developing a successful community outreach plan
  • ·    GeoQuest and Chicken Gold, located in Chicken, Alaska, won the 2006 Small Operator Award. Mike and Lou Busby are the owners and operators of patented mining claims on Chicken Creek in the Fortymile mining district of Alaska. The Busby’s are successfully integrating tourism and recreation mining with local mining history and commercial mining, as well as with on-going reclamation activity.

11 US coal mines received special recognition as the US Office of Surface Mining (OSM) announced the winners of the 2006 Department of the Interior Reclamation Awards. Kempthorne presided over the awards ceremony.

Coal mines in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming were honoured for exemplary efforts to reclaim mined land for beneficial uses and for attending to the needs of local communities.

“These mines join a select group of US coal mines that since 1986 have been recognized by OSM for their outstanding environmental stewardship,” said Naasz. “The companies we honour today have provided thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, forested recreation, wetlands and usable roads for local communities,” he continued, “NMA is especially proud that our member companies have been recognized for their outstanding mine reclamation efforts.”

The 2006 OSM Award winners for surface coal mining operations are:

Good Neighbor Award:

  • ·    Western Energy – Rosebud mine, Colstrip, Montana
  • ·    Thunder Basin Coal – Black Thunder mine, Wright, Wyoming
  • ·    AEP Kentucky coal mine, Lick Creek, Kentucky

Directors Award:

  • ·    TXU Mining – Oak Hill mine, near Henderson, Texas

National Award:

  • ·    Pritchard Mining – Lens Creek mine, Charleston, West Virginia
  • ·    North American Coal – Red Hills mine, Ackerman, Mississippi
  • ·    United Minerals and Black Beauty Coal – West Fork mine, Huntingburg, Indiana
  • ·    Black Beauty Coal – Schuyler County, Illinois
  • ·    Peabody Coal – Lynnville mine, Lynnville, Indiana
  • ·    Alcoa – Sandow mine, Rockdale, Texas
  • ·    Seneca Coal – Seneca II West mine, Hayden, Colorado

20 American mining operations won recognition from the US Department of Labour (DOL) for outstanding mine safety achievements during 2005, the safest year on record for US mines.

The annual Sentinels of Safety Awards, co-sponsored by DOL’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the NMA, were presented to company representatives at a luncheon ceremony held in conjunction with NMA’s fall annual members meeting.

The awards recognize coal and mineral mining operations in several categories for recording the most hours in a calendar year without a single lost-time injury. A minimum of 4,000 hours are required for award consideration. The award categories reflect the safety accomplishments of both small and large mines.

“These awards are a timely reminder of the importance of safety in the mining industry and of the further progress we must still make to ensure every miner returns home safely after each and every shift,” said Naasz. “The companies we honour today are the true sentinels of safety and we look forward to implementing the new federal mine safety law President Bush signed in June and, in so doing, setting the world standard for mine safety.”

Initiated in 1925 by then Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, the Sentinels of Safety Award programme has helped foster a strong safety commitment on the part of US mines. Sentinels of Safety Award winners include:

Large company award winners:

  • ·    Taylor plant, Badger Mining, Taylor, Wisconsin
  • ·    Processing plant no. 1, Brooks Run Mining, Sutton, West Virginia
  • ·    Sorter’s Road Sand and Gravel, Porter, Texas.
  • ·    Sandersville mill, J.M. Huber Corp, Sandersville, Georgia
  • ·    South Fort Meade mine, Mosaic Fertilizer, Fort Meade, Florida
  • ·    St. Genevieve quarry, Tower Rock Stone Co, St. Genevieve, Missouri
  • ·    Lee Ranch mine, Lee Ranch Coal, Grants, New Mexico
  • ·    Skyline mine, Canyon Fuel, Scofield, Utah
  • ·    K-2 mine, Kinross Gold, Republic, Washington
  • ·    Peerless mine, Mississippi Lime, St. Genevieve, Missouri

Small Company Award Winners:

  • ·    New Paris plant, Elkhart County Grave, New Paris, Indiana
  • ·    No. 1 loading dock, Harold Keene Coal, Honaker, Virginia
  • ·    Central Arkansas Sand, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • ·    Florence plant, Central Stone, Moline, Illinois
  • ·    State Line Resources, Negley, Ohio
  • ·    Mitchell crushed stone, Rogers Group, Mitchell, Indiana
  • ·    Freelandville east mine, Triad Mining, Edwardsport, Indiana
  • ·    No. 1 Wallins, Rex Coal, Grays Knob, Kentucky
  • ·    Billie mine, American Borate, Death Valley, California
  • ·    Imperial mine quarry, Vermont Quarries, Danby, Vermont