November 7, 2017 - The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards are presented to coal mining companies that achieve the most exemplary coal mine reclamation in the nation. Past winners have demonstrated a commitment to sound mining practices and effective reclamation plans that enhanced beneficial post-mining use of the land. OSMRE has honored high quality coal mine land reclamation since 1986. All winning projects go beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior results in returning a site to productive use after completion of mining.
For the first time ever, OSMRE will honor a reclamation project that resulted from collaboration between mining companies and non-mining groups. That effort is recognized with this year’s Good Neighbor Award. The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards is presented in partnership with the National Mining Association. This year’s awards will be presented on November 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
Cloud Peak Energy: Spring Creek Coal, LLC – Spring Creek Mine, Montana
The judges chose Cloud Peak’s Spring Creek Mine as one of two National Award Winners based on the company’s innovative use of soil mixtures and a variety of planted and seeded vegetation over a large area. The growth of a large assortment of plants led to greater and denser habitat for threatened wildlife such as sage grouse, as well as songbirds, raptors, rabbits, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.
Arch Coal: Coal-Mac LLC – Pine Creek 2 Surface Mine, West Virginia
The judges awarded Coal-Mac’s Pine Creek 2 Surface Mine a National Award based on the development and use of multiple techniques to control threats to water quality, such as selenium pollution, total dissolved solids and conductivity. The company isolated and treated spoil that might lead to higher selenium pollution. The company also developed bioreactor systems to control selenium from entering into water that leaves the mine site leading to a 90% reduction in selenium discharges. Coal-Mac also utilized alternate topsoil material for planting in reclaimed sites leading to better vegetation in those areas.
Good Neighbor Award
Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association – Five Coal Mining Companies in Northeastern Wyoming:
Arch Coal, Inc.; Cloud Peak Energy, Inc.; Contura Energy, Inc.; Kiewit Mining Group, Inc.; Peabody Energy
The judges selected the Thunder Basin association for its innovative collaboration between non-coal organizations and coal companies to enhance area-wide reclamation. The association began in 1998, as a collection of 24 livestock and agricultural producers. The first coal company joined the group in 2001. Two years later, five more coal companies joined the collaboration. Over 14 years, the group has worked to maintain responsible economic use of land and mineral resources and effective stewardship of land and wildlife. The conservation effort covers more than 13 million acres, and the mining companies were integral to developing and then completing a comprehensive reclamation strategy in the area.
Western Regional Award Winner: BHP Billiton/Navajo Transitional Energy Corporation, Fruitland, NM - BHP Billiton and the Navajo Transitional Energy Corporation determined that the original reclamation of a site first completed in 1976 was not performing up to the company’s standards. The operator decided that the original engineering-based reclamation should be removed in favor of the newer technique of geomorphic reclamation.
Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: Solar Sources, Cannelburg Mining Complex, Cannelburg, IN - Solar Sources has committed to performing reclamation while coal mining operations are going on in disturbed areas. To accomplish this, the company typically segregates topsoil that is ideal for farming, then replaces the topsoil and includes needed nutrients to bring the area back to a prime farmland designation when mining is completed.
Appalachian Regional Award Winner: Westmoreland Coal Company/Oxford Mining, Cadiz, OH - Westmoreland Coal and the Oxford Mining Company have won three Excellence in Coal Mine Reclamation Award in five years in the same area, but for different projects. IN this case, the company reclaimed more than eight miles of dangerous highwalls from previously abandoned mines near roads, homes and business; creating more than seventeen thousand feet of continuous streambeds; filling dozens of old slurry impoundments; and turning some of the reclaimed areas into 23 acres of valuable wetlands, and still more grazing lands.
National Award Winner: Northampton Fuels Supply Company, Nanticoke, PA - Northampton Fuels won its first national award while taking advantage of a change in the law that allows remining of a previously mined site without having to go through the extensive permitting process associated with new mines. In this case, the company accepted the liability of reclaiming a 70-year old abandoned mine site that contained a pile of waste coal almost 700 feet high.