NWMA gives out 2007 awards

Llee Chapman, who has long donated his time and experience to the Northwest Mining Association (NWMA), and Mike Burnside, who has tirelessly worked to bring balance and reason to many of the most difficult issues facing the industry, were presented with two of the Association’s highest awards at NWMA’s 113th Annual Meeting in Spokane in December. In addition to Chapman and Burnside, awards were given to five other worthy recipients at the ceremony. NWMA Executive Director Laura Skaer detailed the recipients:

Carla Ludwig, Hayden, Idaho – The T. Lyle Taylor Starter’s Award was presented to Ms Ludwig in appreciation for her work in restarting the NWMA Teacher’s Workshop. She is a former educator and worked at Hecla Mining Co. She has a passion for educating society about the role of modern environmentally responsible mining in meeting society’s demand for the products we use on a daily basis.Ludwig’s skill and passion created a demand among regional teachers for the weeklong teachers’ workshop. Ludwig spent a tremendous amount of time, both personally and professionally, organising the workshops, finding the volunteers and even helping to raise the funds necessary to hold the events. She spread NWMA’s influence even further by pursuing a partnership for the workshops with the Northwest Natural Resources Institute.

Washington State Senator Bob Morton, R-Orient – The Distinguished Service to the Mineral Industry Award was presented to long-time Washington State legislator Bob Morton in recognition of the Senator’s lifelong support of the minerals industry in Washington State. Senator Morton has long been a leader in crafting legislation that helps bring balance to Washington’s natural resource laws – those regarding mining and other natural resource businesses including logging and agriculture. Most recently, Morton was responsible for legislation that helped state regulators – and the mining industry’s image – by giving the Department of Natural Resources enforcement authority to deal with unpermitted mines. Morton has also shown leadership in many other ways, including his mentoring of Cathy McMorris-Rogers, Eastern Washington’s Representative to the US Congress. When Morton moved from the state House of Representatives, he encouraged McMorris to succeed him in his House seat. Morton is the first state legislator to receive this prestigious award.

Kinross Gold Corp – The Platinum Award for Corporate Excellence was presented to Kinross Gold Corp and its Kettle River Operations in Washington State for exhibiting leadership in pursuing a mining operation which has minimal impact on the environment and surrounding ecosystem and for supporting the efforts of NWMA. When Kinross acquired the Buckhorn Mountain project in 2003 from Crown Resources, Kinross worked to avoid the controversy over the previous Crown Jewel project proposal for an open-pit mine near Chesaw, Washington, and made the commitment to reduce environmental impacts and to identify and address public concerns. Following the lead that Crown Resources had already established by changing the project from a large surface mine to an underground operation, Kinross went the next step and eliminated on-site processing, choosing instead to haul the ore to its milling facilities in Republic, Washington, in response to public comments. This change reduced the mine’s footprint from 787 acres to 117 acres, all of which will be reclaimed. Kinross also established a Community Advisory Board as a forum to address issues associated with the project.

Hecla Mining Co., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – The NWMA Environmental Excellence Award went to Hecla Mining Co’s Grouse Creek Unit for environmental excellence in applying proven technology with innovative solutions in the closure and reclamation of the Grouse Creek mine in Custer County, Idaho. Hecla’s Environmental Policy states that natural resources can be developed and used in a manner consistent with proper stewardship for the environment, and the reclamation at Grouse Creek exemplifies the company’s policy. Hecla continues toward its goal of reclamation and final closure of Grouse Creek with a commitment to protection of water quality and a return of the site to post-mining land use of forest and mountain wildlife habitat. The thoughtful, innovative approach used in reclamation of this site will leave a positive legacy for the mining industry in Idaho.

Llee Chapman, Newmont Mining Co., Elko, Nevada – NWMA’s Lifetime Member Award is given for years of dedication and admirable service to the Association and the industry. It is NWMA’s highest and most prestigious award. In addition to serving six years on the NWMA Board of Trustees, including a term as President, Chapman dedicated his time during three critical years as Chair of the NWMA’s Abandoned Mine Lands Committee, working hard to ensure that regulations were put in place to help clean up and make safe historic, abandoned mines in Nevada. Chapman was the first to support NWMA’s efforts to mount a successful legal challenge to a troublesome, and ultimately illegal, BLM regulatory scheme in 1997. He also was among a handful of executives who, during the industry’s economic downturn, worked assiduously to bolster the Association’s financial health and put NWMA on firm footing for the future.

Mike Burnside, Missoula, Montana – The NWMA President’s Award was presented to NWMA Trustee Mike Burnside in recognition of his leadership of the Mining Law Committee. Burnside retired as a career US Forest Service expert on mining, including the multitude of rules and regulations with which modern mines must comply. While with the Forest Service, Burnside served several positions, including the Regional Geologist for the Northern Region headquartered in Missoula, as well as Assistant Director for Minerals & Geology Management in Washington, D.C. Although not a lawyer, executives, attorneys and others in and out of government have long sought Burnside’s advice and insight into the Mining Law and numerous other regulations. He has a rare ability to decipher and bring clarity to complex and complicated laws and regulations.

Rick Redfern, Spring Creek, Nevada – Occasionally, NWMA presents a Special Award of Merit to a deserving individual or organization for exceptional contributions to the minerals industry. In recognition for organizing the successful open community forum during the August 21, 2007 Mining Law Field Hearing in Elko, Nevada, NWMA presented its Special Award of Merit to Rick Redfern. Redfern is CEO of Mexivada Mining, who saw the need for a strong showing of support for mining during and after the Elko field hearing held by the House Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee overseeing proposed changes to the Mining Law. Along with the NWMA and others he generated a high level of interest in the hearing, resulting in more than 300 mining industry supporters filling the hearing room. Redfern also single-handedly organized a post-hearing community forum on the issue in Elko. He communicated with Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Dean Heller, and he organized local and State officials to add their voices in support of mining industry jobs.