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Leaders in mine safety, environmental stewardship and technology recognised by NMA and federal agencies

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World Coal,

In October, the National Mining Association (NMA), the US Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), are honouring achievements in mine safety, environmental stewardship and technology.


NMA’s Sentinels of Safety Award recognises coal and mineral mining operations in 10 categories for recording the most hours in a calendar year without a single lost-time injury. A minimum of 4000 hours is required for award consideration. The award categories reflect the safety accomplishments of both small and large mines.20 American mining operations – six coal mines and 14 mineral/metal mines, including five NMA members – will be awarded with the award recognising performance in 2019.

“The Sentinels of Safety award acknowledges outstanding achievements in safety,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO. “These achievements are truly extraordinary. At the same time, I want to acknowledge that we are announcing these awards during an unprecedented period. Innovative safety measures never before contemplated have been and continue to be taken across our industry to ensure that the essential materials that we provide our country continue to be available throughout the pandemic while simultaneously keeping our miners safe.”

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.

Recipients include the following:

Large Group Category

  • Large coal processing – MC #1 Mine, M-Class Mining LLC; Franklin County, Illinois.
  • Large metal/nonmetal mill – North Shore Mining Company, Cleveland-Cliffs; Silver Bay, Minnesota.
  • Large surface coal – Kosse Mine, Luminant; Kosse, Texas (NMA member)
  • Large underground coal – Leer Mine, ACI Tygart Valley, LLC, Arch Resources; Grafton, West Virginia (NMA member).
  • Large underground metal – Cortez District Underground, Nevada Gold Mines LLC; Crescent Valley, Nevada (NMA member).
  • Large bank or pit – Vista Sand, Vista Proppants & Logistics; Granbury, Texas.
  • Large dredge – Briggs Plant, Fordyce Holdings; Victoria, Texas.
  • Large opencast – Boron Operations, US Borax, Inc., Rio Tinto; Boron, CA (NMA member).
  • Large quarry – Tower Rock Stone; Sainte Genevieve, Missouri.
  • Large underground nonmetal – Mississippi Lime Company; Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

Small group category

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

Environmental contributions

OSMRE in October announced the winners of its 2020 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards, presented to the coal mining companies that achieve the most exemplary coal mine reclamation in the nation.

OSMRE 2020 winners include:

  • Good Neighbor Award: Wolf Run Mining, LLC, Arch Resources, Leer South Mine Complex; Grafton, West Virginia (NMA member).
  • National Award: Navajo Transitional Energy Company, North American Coal Company, Bisti Fuels Navajo Mine; San Juan County, New Mexico (NMA member).


In addition, NIOSH is recognising two companies – both NMA members – as this year’s Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Awards winners. Honourees are selected for 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 2020:

  • Metal Sector – Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NMA member) paired multiple existing sensor technologies on haul trucks with big data technology to detect operator behaviours that fall outside of established safe operating practices. Using millions of data points generated daily by technologies across multiple mining sites allows Freeport-McMoRan to provide timely, relevant information back to haul truck operators, supervisors and trainers. The result was tremendous improvement in the health and safety of their operations.
  • Coal Sector – Matrix Design Group, subsidiary of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (NMA member) developed a system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to prevent collisions of mobile surface equipment, as well as collisions involving machines and workers. The system uses a network of rugged cameras paired with AI and computer vision technology to alert operators to blind spots and hazards. The adaptable system can be set as a Collision Warning System or as a Collision Avoidance System with controls to slow or stop equipment.

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