Key US agencies recognise seven mines for outstanding environmental performance

Four US coal mines and three mineral mines have won annual awards from the US Department of the Interior for their outstanding environmental performance, mine reclamation accomplishments and community outreach programs. The awards were presented by officials from the US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during ceremonies hosted by the National Mining Association (NMA). The annual awards, selected by the agencies, recognise the best environmental and reclamation practices throughout the year for coal and mineral mining.

“NMA is proud of these award winners for the commitment they have shown to sustainable mining techniques, to best practices and to the communities in which they operate,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn. “Their work has contributed to millions of acres of land successfully reclaimed by America’s mining companies over the past quarter century. Sustainable mining practices as exemplified by this year’s award winners represent modern mining in America and we’re grateful to the Department of the Interior for recognising our industry’s environmental achievements.”

The department’s award winners were selected by judges from the respective awarding agencies. BLM Associate Director Energy, Minerals and Realty Management Michael Nedd presented the awards to the winning mineral operations and OSMRE Deputy Director Glenda Owens presented her agency’s awards to the winning coal mine operations.

National Mining Association members received five of the environmental awards. They are Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining. The Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards are presented by the BLM in recognition of outstanding reclamation activities that restore land to other productive uses following mining operations and recognise community outreach programs that provide valuable infrastructure and conservation services to local communities. The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Awards are presented by the OSMRE to coal companies that achieve the most exemplary mining and reclamation in the country, typically by demonstrating sound mining practices and executing effective reclamation plans designed to enhance post-mining land use.

The Department of the Interior began the environmental awards program for mining in 1986 with the OSMRE’s “Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation” award. In 2002, BLM inaugurated a parallel program for reclamation of mineral mines, presenting its first awards the following year for sustainable development practices.
The winners of the Department of the Interior’s 2015 Awards are:

Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award
Tronox Sage Grouse Initiative Project (Wyoming)
“Fix A Shaft Today!” (FAST) Award
Barrick Gold Corp., Golden Sunlight Mine and Arrowhead Reclamation-West District Mine Closures (Montana)
Newmont Mining Corp., Bailey Day Abandoned Mine Hard Closure Project (Nevada)

National Awards
Alpha Natural Resources, Paramont Coal Company Virginia, LLC: Hawks Nest Surface Mine (Virginia)
Cloud Peak Energy Inc.: Cordero Rojo Mine (Wyoming)
Vigo Coal Operating Co., Inc.: Red Brush Mine (Indiana)
Good Neighbour Award
Arch Coal, Inc., Mingo Logan Coal Company: Left Fork Surface Mine (West Virginia)