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Fola coal mine wins reclamation award

World Coal,

CONSOL Energy’s Fola coal mine operations complex in West Virginia has been awarded the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative’s (ARRI) excellence in regional reforestation award. The award recognises reforestation efforts at the company’s Fola coal mine.

The ARRI award noted CONSOL’s Fola coal mine for its “exemplary performance using the forest reclamation approach.” The company has planted 2.3 million trees since 2002, reclaiming 4000 ha. of forestland. An additional 300,000 trees are due to be planted in 2013.

Environmental commitment

Katherine Fredrikson, vice president of environmental strategy and regulatory affairs at CONSOL, said the award was evidence of the company’s positive stewardship of the environment.

“We consider being a good steward of the environment one of the most important obligations we have,” Fredrikson said. “[The award] Vindicates our commitment to our core value of compliance.”

Post mining land use

To be eligible for the award, a site must be recommended by an inspector with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Nominations for the award were submitted by Kelly Eades and Barry Curry, inspector specialists; and Paul Emerson, inspector.

The nominating document noted that in early 1999, Fola began work on the first area destined for commercial forestry as its post mining land use. Fola, it is noted, was the first to use this approach in the Eastern US

In order to accomplish the forest reclamation approach, native topsoil was saved and stockpiled. It was then blended with the best available material to create a rooting/growth medium that was suited to native species’ requirements for both soil texture and fertility. A light seeding mix of non-competitive and non-invasive vegetation was used with the planting of a diverse tree mix of both early and late succession species and a few wildlife species. Among the trees planted were northern red oak, white oak, sycamore, sugar maple, white ash, black cherry, black locust, red bud and various pines.

The Fola complex was also recognised as the West Virginia state winner in the 2012 ARRI awards programme.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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