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OSMRE announces 2018 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award winners

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World Coal,

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has recognised the winners of its 2018 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards.

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 the beneficial post-mining use of the land.

OSMRE has honored high-quality coal mine land reclamation since 1986. The awards programme was designed to encourage citizen and private sector involvement in the care of America’s resources, recognise the outstanding reclamation that is being achieved by companies under the surface mining law, capture and infuse in others a spirit of commitment to restoring the land after it is mined for coal and provide a catalyst for the transfer of new or innovative technology for wider use.

All of the winning projects went beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior results in returning a site to productive use after completion of mining.

A team of judges reviewed nominations and voted on projects based on the following criteria:

  • Difficulty of achieving reclamation under existing conditions.
  • Effectiveness of the onsite work.
  • Transferability of the onsite practice to other reclamation projects.
  • Increase public awareness of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).
  • Long-term benefit to the community.
  • Extent to which project exceeds the spirit and intent of SMCRA.

OSMRE is presenting two categories of awards in 2018.

National Awards

This award is presented to coal mining companies for achieving the most exemplary mining and reclamation in the country. A coal mining operation may be nominated for achievement in a specific aspect of the reclamation, such as the design and implementation of sedimentation control practices, or for its overall performance in meeting the goals of SMCRA.

Good Neighbour Awards

Mine operators are selected to receive Good Neighbour Awards for successfully working with the surrounding landowners and the community while completing mining and reclamation. This year’s award honourees are:

National Award

Peabody Energy, Inc.

Big Sky Mine Area B

Rosebud County, Montana.

Big Sky Mine Area B was recognised for the creation of post-mining water sources in a reclaimed, semi-arid landscape. Onsite monitoring between 2006 and 2011, has shown that water levels in the reclaimed area have risen between 4 - 6 ft. The site features stream channels and wetlands for use by livestock and wildlife.

National Award

Peabody Midwest Mining, LLC

Wild Boar mine, Barren Fork Pit

Lynnville, Indiana.

A majority of the 8500 acre Wild Boar mining area was opencast mined for its upper seams of coal before SMCRA was passed in 1977. The site contained 1.2 miles of dangerous unreclaimed highwall and more than three miles of polluted streams. While mining, the company took responsibility for cleaning up the mine, eliminating the abandoned highwall, and properly reclaiming 90% of the area mined before the passage of SMCRA. The company created approximately 100 rock brush piles within the forested areas for wildlife habitat, and developed 11 shallow water sources for wildlife to properly reclaim the previously mined site. The company also restored eight streams among the reclaimed forest.

Good Neighbour Award

Trapper Mining Inc

Trapper mine

Craig, Colorado.

The judges selected Trapper mine for a Good Neighbour Award for a wide range of community related activities including building local soccer fields with mine equipment and workers, catering lunch for law enforcement agencies, contributing more than US$700 000 to local communities and projects, creating a hunting and outdoors program for people with disabilities, and funding critical research on the Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse. Trapper Mining also set up a trust fund to provide grant money for future community activities after mining is complete.

Good Neighbour Award

Peabody Energy, Inc.

Bear Run mine

Carlisle, Indiana.

Peabody’s Bear Run mine is the largest active surface mine in Indiana. Over the past three years, the mine has taken an aggressive approach to reclamation, with a 1.3:1 ratio of reclaimed land to mined land. The judges recognised Bear Run for its involvement in various community programs that the company either operates or supports through financial, in-kind, and volunteer donations, including the Coal Miner Christmas, during which the company raised over US$70 000 to help children from local communities. Bear Run also provided a new roof for a local gym, constructed a new parking lot, provided funds for its backup generator and repaired its electrical and heating systems. The company also improved a local cemetery, hosted farmers during the Indiana Department of Natural Resources prime Farmland Field Day, provided ecotherapy opportunities to veterans and children with disabilities, and hosted a turkey hunt for veterans who had lost their vision.

The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards is presented in partnership with the National Mining Association. This year’s awards will be presented at a banquet in Washington, D.C. on 27 September 2018.

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