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US coal companies recognised for safety and environmental performance

Published by
World Coal,

A number of US coal mines and preparation plants have been recognised for their achievements in safety and environmental performance at award ceremonies at this year’s MINExpo 2016 in Las Vegas. Six coal operations received the National Mining Association’s (NMA) Sentinals of Safety awards, while four coal operations were recognised for their environmental and reclamation performance by the US Department of the Interior (DOI).

Initiated in 1925 by US Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, a former mining engineer and future president, the Sentinals of Safety are awarded annually to mining operations that record the most hours in a calender year without a lost-time injury (LTI). A minimum of 4000 hours without a LTI are required for award consideration.

Coal industry winners are split into three categories: underground, opencast and coal processing facilities. Winners in the underground category were GCC Energy’s King II mine, which recorded 242 309 injury free hours in 2015, and Blue Diamond Coal’s No. 88 mines, which recorded 89 556 injury free hours. Luminant Mining’s Three Oaks mine (714 065 injury free hours) and Vindex Energy’s Wolf Den Run mine (27 552 injury free hours) won in the opencast coal category, while the coal processing facility at American Coal’s New Era mine (224 235 injury free hours) and Consol of Kentucky’s Miller Creek preparation plant no. 1 (26 007 injury free hours) won in the processing plant category.

“These awards are a timely reminder of the importance of safety in the mining industry and of the further progress we are making to ensure every miner returns home safely after each and every shift,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn.

The NMA also recognised Peabody Energy for becoming the first company to be independently certified under its CORESafety system. CORESafety is a voluntary mine safety and health initiative facilitated by the NMA.

Participants agree to commit to the CORESafety system, implement a funtionally-equivalent version of the CORESafety safety and health management system, submit to NMA self-assessments and complete a third-party assessment of its safety and health management system. Peabody is the first company to complete each step of this process with independent verification conducted by Det Norske Veritas.

"This is a significant accomplishment by Peabody," said Quinn. "The company not only embraced an approach to drive continuous performance improvement that went above and beyond what is required of it by regulations, but it analysed where it could do better, developed a plan, recorded metrics and submitted the results to a third party auditor."

In addition, four coal mines won awards from the US DOI for environmental performance, mine reclamation and community outreach programmes. The award winners are selected by the US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and presented to companies that demonstrate sound mining practices and execute effective reclamation plans designed to enhance post-mining land use.

The National Award was won by the Northampton Fuel Supply’s Loomis Bank Operation in Pennsylvania. Regional awards were won by Solar Sources’ Cannelburg Mining Complex in Indiana (Mid-Continent Region), Westmoreland Resources and Oxford Mining’s Daron-Consol mine in Ohio (Appalachia) and the Navajo Transitional Energy Co.’s Navajo mine in New Mexico (Western Region).

It is the third Excellence in Coal Mine Reclamation Award for the Daron-Consol mine. It was recognised for mining and reclaiming nearly 40 000 ft of abandoned high-wall, which was previously mined in the 1960s and early 1970s. Westmoreland’s efforts have created 16 900 feet of continuous stream channel, filled dozens of slurry impoundments and turned some of the reclaimed areas into 23 acres of wetlands and grazing lands.

“Our Ohio operations exemplify the reclamation standards of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, as well as Westmoreland’s core value of Environmental Stewardship,” said Joseph Micheletti, Executive Vice President, Operations of Westmoreland Coal Co. “With great vision, a comprehensive plan, and a strong dedication to doing right, all the credit goes to our coal miners who take great pride in reclaiming mined lands to a condition equal to or better than pre-mining,”

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