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Leaders in mine safety and technology honoured by NMA and NIOSH

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World Coal,

The National Mining Association (NMA) will gather at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021 to honour outstanding achievements in mine safety and technology.


40 American mining operations – 12 coal mines and 28 mineral/metal mines – will be honoured with the award recognising performance in 2019 and 2020.

“We are pleased to be able to come together once again in-person to celebrate these great accomplishments in safety,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO. “The Sentinels of Safety Award acknowledges outstanding achievements in safety and, if ever there were a time to do so, it is now. When the pandemic hit, many industries shut down or stayed home. But the demand for mined materials for virtually every global supply chain never stopped and our nation’s miners remained focus on delivering for every American. The industry has come together to double-down on our safety efforts, learn about and discuss best practices with each other, and keep our miners as safe as possible throughout this pandemic; there is a great deal to celebrate in those efforts.”

Initiated in 1925 by then Commerce Secretary, Herbert Hoover, a former Mining Engineer, the Sentinels of Safety Award programme remains the nation’s most prestigious recognition of mine safety and has helped foster a strong safety commitment on the part of US mines.

Note: all recipients marked with an asterisk* are members of the NMA.

Recipients for 2020 include the following:

Large group category

  • Large coal processing: No. 7 Mine, Warrior Met Coal, Inc.* Brookwood, Alabama.
  • Large metal/non-metal mill: Freeport-McMoRan Chino Mines Company, Freeport-McMoRan Inc.* (Bayard, New Mexico).
  • Large surface coal: San Miguel Lignite Mine, NACG Texas, Inc. (Christine, Texas).
  • Large underground coal: Century Mine, Belmont County Coal Resources, Inc.* (Beallsville, Ohio).
  • Large underground metal: Cortez District, Nevada Gold Mines LLC* (Crescent Valley, Nevada).
  • Large bank or pit: Tabasco Pit, Upper Valley Materials, LLC (Penitas, Texas).
  • Large dredge: Briggs Plant, Fordyce Holdings Inc. (Victoria, Texas).
  • Large open pit: Goldstrike Mine, Nevada Gold Mines LLC* (Carlin, Nevada).
  • Large quarry: Pennsuco Quarry, Titan Florida LLC (Medley, Florida).
  • Large underground non-metal: Intrepid Potash – East, Intrepid Potash – New Mexico, LLC (Carlsbad, New Mexico).

Small group category

  • Small coal processing: Buckskin Mine, Buckskin Mining Company (Gillette, Wyoming).
  • Small underground metal: Eagle Mine, Eagle Mine, LLC (Champion, Michigan).
  • Small bank or pit: Odessa Sand, Stone, Gravel, Lavette Development Corp. (Ithaca, New York).
  • Small dredge: Riverside Plant #11, Holliday Sand & Gravel (Lenexa, Kansas).
  • Small metal/non-metal mill: Carmeuse – Portage Operation, O-N Minerals Portage Company, LLC (Portage, Indiana).
  • Small open pit: L R Chapman Inc., L R Chapman Inc. (Lewisport, Kentucky).
  • Small quarry: Yard 99 – Ashkum, VCNA Prairie LLC (Ashkum, Illinois).
  • Small surface coal: Barrackville Refuse Pile, LP Mineral LLC (Barrackville, West Virginia.
  • Small underground coal: Genesis Mine, Kentucky Land Resources, Inc.* (Centertown, Kentucky).
  • Small underground non-metal: Rich Hill Underground Mine & Plant, Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania LLC (Connellsville, Pennsylvania).

Last year’s ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic; winners will be recognised at this year’s event. Winners from 2019 were:

Large group category

  • Large surface coal: Kosse Strip, Luminant Mining Company* (Kosse, Texas).
  • Large coal processing: MC #1 Mine, M-Class Mining LLC (Franklin County, Illinois).
  • Large metal/non-metal mill: North Shore Mining Company, North Shore Mining Company (Silver Bay, Minnesota).
  • Large underground coal: Leer Mine, ACI Tygart Valley, LLC* (Grafton, West Virginia).
  • Large underground metal: Cortez District Underground, Nevada Gold Mines LLC* (Crescent Valley, Nevada).
  • Large bank or pit: Vista Sand, Vista Proppants & Logistics (Granbury, Texas).
  • Large dredge: Briggs Plant, Fordyce Holdings (Victoria, Texas).
  • Large open pit, Boron Operations, US Borax, Inc.* (Boron, California).
  • Large quarry: Tower Rock Stone – St. Genevieve FA, Tower Rock Stone Company (Sainte Genevieve, Missouri).
  • Large underground non-metal: Mississippi Lime Company – St. Genevieve, Mississippi Lime Co. (Sainte Genevieve, Missouri).

Small group category

  • Small surface coal: Highwall Miner #1, Ramaco Resources LLC* (Verner, West Virginia).
  • Small coal processing, Black Thunder, Thunder Basin Coal Company LLC* (Wright, Wyoming).
  • Small underground metal: Eagle Mine, Eagle Mine LLC (Champion, Michigan).
  • Small bank or pit: U.S. Aggregates – Swisher Plant, Heritage Aggregate LLC (Indianapolis, Indiana).
  • Small dredge: Tarburton Pit, Pennsy Supply Inc. Kent, Delaware).
  • Small metal/non-metal mill, Chattanooga Quarry, Martin Marietta Materials (Chattanooga, Tennessee).
  • Small open pit: Edgar Minerals Inc., Edgar Minerals Inc. (Hawthorne, Florida).
  • Small quarry: Kinkaid Stone Company, Kinkaid Stone Company (Ava, Illinois).
  • Small underground coal, Access Energy, Deane Mining LLC (Deane, Kentucky).
  • Small underground non-metal: Springfield Pike Mine & Plant, Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania LLC (Connellsville, Pennsylvania).


In addition, on behalf of the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the NMA will also recognise winners from this and last year with NIOSH’s annual Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovation Awards. Honourees are selected due to the significant advancements they have made to enhance mine safety by applying technology or improved processes in innovative ways.

The following companies will be recognised for 2021:

  • Coeur Mining* will be recognised for developing and utilising technology to solve the exposure and risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Matrix Design Group* will be recognised for combining multiple technologies to improve proximity detection for battery scoops in underground coal mines.

The following companies will be recognised for 2020:

  • Freeport-McMoRan* will be recognised for developing the Haul Truck Operator Scorecard, pairing multiple existing sensor technologies on haul trucks with big data technology to detect operator behaviours that fall outside of established safe operating practices.
  • Matrix Design Group* will be recognised for developing a system that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to prevent collisions of mobile surface equipment, as well as collisions involving machines and workers.

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