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Arch Coal’s West Elk coal mine earns three awards

World Coal,

Arch Coal has announced that employees of Mountain Coal Company's West Elk mine recently earned three of Colorado's top awards: the Best of Best Environmental award; the Excellence in Coal Mine Reclamation award; and the Excellence in Safety award.

"We're very pleased to have earned the top honors for safety and environmental excellence in Colorado," said Kenneth Cochran, Arch's senior vice president of operations. "West Elk's employees act responsibly day in and day out while supplying essential energy to the world."

West Elk took home the state's "best of best" environmental award for leading the way in stewardship and pollution prevention in the coal sector. West Elk has operated for more than 14 years with perfect SMCRA environmental compliance in Colorado.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (CDRMS) recognised West Elk for innovative vegetation and reclamation practices on challenging local topography. West Elk's award-winning practices include recycling water at its new coal preparation plant, which eliminates water discharge and reduces fresh water usage.

Most notably, employees of West Elk earned top safety recognition for a fifth consecutive year for achieving a peer-best rate among Colorado's underground coal mines. The mine's 2013 total incident rate of 0.27 per 200,000 employee-hours was 94% lower than the national underground average incident rate of 4.91. West Elk has logged more than 2 million employee-hours over two years without a lost-time safety incident.

"Our extraordinary success is attributed to the involvement and commitment of our entire workforce in the proactive, behaviour-based process," said Jim Miller, general manager of West Elk mine. "Each of us takes responsibility for safety and environmental performance."

US-based Arch Coal, Inc. is one of the world's top coal producers for the global steel and power generation industries, serving customers on five continents. Its network of mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. The company controls more than 5 billion t of high-quality metallurgical and thermal coal reserves, with access to all major railroads, inland waterways and a growing number of seaborne trade channels. In 2013, Arch's companywide safety incident rate was three times lower than the national coal industry average.

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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