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Updated   October 12, 2003 October 2, 2003(Source: NMA Mining Week)

Outstanding Reclamation & Community Outreach Earn 15 Mining Companies National Awards from U.S. Department of the Interior

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A total of 15 coal and minerals mining companies were presented national awards honoring outstanding reclamation and community outreach by two U.S. Department of the Interior agencies – the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – during special ceremonies in Washington, D.C., this evening.

U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles presented the 17th anniversary “Excellence in Surface Mining Awards” to 11 coal companies that represented the best examples of mine land reclamation during the past year and the “Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards” to four minerals producers who achieved “the finest examples of responsible mineral resource development.” Griles was joined in presenting the surface mining awards by OSM Director Jeffrey D. Jarrett, and the mineral development awards by BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.

The OSM award winners include three operations in Indiana (Black Beauty Coal Co., United Minerals Co. and Squaw Creek Coal Co.), two in Wyoming (Peabody Energy and Kennecott Energy), and one each in Pennsylvania (Bridgeview Coal Co.), Arizona (Peabody Western Coal Co.), Illinois (Consolidation Coal Co.), Alabama (Drummond Co. Inc.), Utah (Castle Gate Holding Co.) and Texas (TXU Mining Co.).

The BLM award winners include one operation each in California (Vulcan Materials Co.), Montana (Stillwater Mining Co.), Utah (Kennecott Minerals Co.) and Arizona (Phelps Dodge Miami Inc.).

Winners of the OSM “Excellence in Surface Mining Awards” are:

  • Director’s Award – Recognizes outstanding achievement in a special area of reclamation, such as the creation of wetlands. Presented to:  Deer Ridge Mine, United Minerals Co. and Black Beauty Coal Co., Selvin, IN.
  • National Award – For achieving the most exemplary mining and reclamation in the country and on-the-ground achievement of the Surface Mining Law. Presented to:  Burning Star Number 5 Mine, Consolidation Coal Co. (CONSOL Energy), DeSoto, IL.
    Cedrum No. 4 Mine, Drummond Co. Inc., Townley, AL.
    Antelope Coal Mine, Antelope Coal Co. (Kennecott Energy), Gillette, WY.
    Squaw Creek Mine, Squaw Creek Coal Co. (Peabody Energy), Chandler, IN.
    Caballo Mine, Caballo Coal Co. (Peabody Energy), Gillette, WY.
    Castle Gate Mine, Castle Gate Holding Co. (RAG American), Price, UT.
    Monticello Mine, TXU Mining Co., Mount Pleasant, TX.
  • Good Neighbor Award – For successfully working with the surrounding land owners and community while completing mining and reclamation. Presented to:  Bronze Award — Schmunk Mine, Bridgeview Coal Co., Farmington, PA.
    Silver Award — Cypress Creek Mine, Vigo Coal Co. (Koester Contracting Corp.), Boonville, IN.
    Gold Award — Kayenta and Black Mesa Mines, Peabody Western Coal Co. (Peabody Energy), Kayenta, AZ.

Winners of the BLM “Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards” are:

  • Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award – Recognizes achievements demonstrating continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed federal, state or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight. Also, outstanding efforts to work with the public, the Department of the Interior or other regulators to further multiple-use objectives qualify candidates for this award. Presented to:  Vulcan Morongo Project, Vulcan Materials Co., Los Angeles, CA.
    Stillwater Mining Co., Stillwater Mining Co., Columbus, MT.
  • Hardrock Mineral Award for Community Outreach and Economic Security – Focuses on the concern shown for community responsibilities and the economic benefits of mineral development. Recognizes the successful coordination of projects with local and regional stakeholders. Presented to:  Kennecott Flambeau, Kennecott Minerals Co., Salt Lake City, UT.
    Phelps Dodge Miami Inc., (Phelps Dodge), Claypool, AZ.


(RENO, NEVADA) At the annual Nevada Mining Association Convention, held September 4 – 6, 2003 at Harvey’s Resort in Lake Tahoe, the Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation Awards were presented to four mining companies for their accomplishments in restoring and preserving Nevada’s environment.

  • Barrick Gold Corporation received the Leadership in Reclamation award for their work at the Ruby Hill Mine in Eureka County. Barrick remediated an abandoned heap leach pad and cleaned up hazardous wastes from previous mine operations in the nearby historic Eureka Mining District. The company also formed a successful partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Division of Wildlife, and State Historic Preservation Office to ensure conservation of cultural resources and protection of bat habitat.
  • Miramar Gold Corporation was given an award in the category of Mine Reclamation – Small Operation for reclamation efforts at the Paymaster Mine in Nye County. Miramar worked closely and responsively with state regulatory agencies to successfully complete a voluntary reclamation of historic disturbances and abandoned mine hazards at the long-neglected Paymaster Mine.
  • Nevada Gold Mining, Inc. was honored in the area of Pit Lake Remediation for their work at the Sleeper Mine in Humboldt County. The company implemented an effective post-mining operational plan for the development and management of water quality at the pit lake. Due to the success of Nevada Gold Mining’s remediation strategy, the Sleeper Mine pit lake is recognized as a model for pit lake remediation and now offers a unique, enhanced environment for flora and fauna.
  • Newmont Mining Corporation was recognized in the category of Post-Mining Land Use for the Copper Basin Mountain Bike Trail System near Battle Mountain in Lander County. The trail is an innovative approach to post-mining land use and traverses reclaimed mine waste rock facilities, along with rocky ridgetops and sagebrush-covered hillsides and canyons. The development of the Copper Basin Mountain Bike Trail System is an outstanding example of collaboration among individuals and organizations to create a community asset and generate continued value from reclaimed mine lands.

30 Known Reclamation Awards were given out to various mining companies in 2002 and 2 Awards given to individuals for their personal contributions to mining reclamation efforts. (Note, their probably are more, I am just not found them at this time.) This page is updated frequently as each organization or state hand out their awards at different times of the year.Links with Photos will be added as they become available.  Kentucky Award Links Have Picture slide shows now. Following is a list of active coal mining companies and individuals that have received 2002 US Office of Surface Miningreclamation awards.

25th Anniversary Awards (Presented in 2002)Consolidation Coal Company Burning Star No. 4 Mine, Cutler, Illinois.
The Burning Star mine produced coal from 1973 to 1997 and is now completely reclaimed. The successful restoration of two major streams was a significant engineering and reclamation accomplishment at this former mine site. Almost nine miles of Galum and Bonnie creeks were restored after being temporarily diverted during the mining. The high-quality wildlife habitat surrounding the
streams includes deepwater, wetlands, flood plain, and upland vegetation communities. Approximately 350,000 trees were planted in association with the stream restoration. This outstanding reclamation and the added diversity it created have resulted in rapid reestablishment of wildlife populations that will provide a stable long-term land use for years to come.
Signor Brothers Babb Creek Operation, Bloss Township, Pennsylvania. 
Before reclamation, Babb Creek had washed into a late 1800’s coal refuse pile and was eroding refuse downstream and causing acid mine drainage.  Signor Brothers designed refuse-removal and stream bank protection methods that eliminated 22,000 tons of refuse without harming the creek.  Downed trees with the root wads on the stream bank turned Babb Creek away from the refuse and improved the fish habitat.  Another innovative technique was the use of large equipment to load the refuse during frozen winter weather.  This greatly reduced possible sediment problems.
Mingo Logan Coal Company Low Gap Surface Mine No. 2, Wharncliffe, West Virginia. The Mingo Logan Coal Company used contour and mountaintop removal mining methods that resulted in post-mining land use being transformed into a world-class 18-hole golf course.  The 330 acres are characterized by rolling terrain and high mountain meadows.   The upper level containing the front 9 holes was constructed within a backfill area.  The lower level is built on a valley fill.  Special soil handling procedures established the rough grade needed for the golf course and a rock crusher was used to provide base material for special areas.  Two ponds provide irrigation water for the automated sprinklers located throughout the entire length of the bent grass greens, fairways, and tees.
Red River Mining Company, Coushatta, Louisiana.Red River’s lignite mine has been operating for 12 years and has never had a lost-time accident or environmental violation. Reclamation of the mine site is mostly commercial forestry, a traditional use of land in this moist lowland landscape. Loblolly pines have been planted since 1991 and are now growing into stands of marketable forests. Smaller areas have been planted in pastureland and permanent ponds have been constructed to increase land value and provide water for cattle. Pond
features include hardwoods, forbes, and grassland species that provide both
shelter and food supplies for waterfowl, deer, and other wildlife.

Carbon Coal Company Carbon No. 2 Mine, Gallup, New Mexico.
Carbon Coal Company’s mining at this operation ended in 1986 and final grading and revegetation seeding was completed in 1991. Average annual precipitation is about 9.5 inches; however, summer flooding was an annual occurrence prior to mining. Reclamation included four permanent impoundments and intervening drainage channels that have prevented flooding of the adjacent town of Gallup.

This 300-acre reclaimed site supports a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life. More than 100 vascular plant species have been established including grasses and shrubs, and revegetation carrying capacity has more than doubled.

RFI Energy, Inc., Mine No. 208, Perry Township, Pennsylvania.RFI Energy has reclaimed 202 of its 212 disturbed acres. This unusually timely reclamation has eliminated large disturbed areas and prevented soil erosion. Before mining there were 88 acres of abandoned mine lands with 8,000 feet of highwalls and accompanying spoil piles and mine pits. Today, there is no visible difference between this reclaimed land and that of the virgin mine areas. 55,000 tons of coal combustion ash was used as a soil amendment resulting in vigorous vegetation in one growing season. When mining began, this site had significantly
acidic water discharges from the abandoned mines. As mining progressed through areas where these discharges originated, the flows improved in quality, and then dried up. This exemplifies mining and reclamation as envisioned by the architects of the Surface Mining Law.

Arch of Illinois, Inc. Captain and Denmark Mines, Cutler, Illinois.At its production peak, Arch of Illinois Captain Mine was the largest surface mine east of the Mississippi. When combined with the adjacent Denmark Mine, the reclaimed land area was well over 11, 000 acres. Located just west of Pyramid State Park, the reclaimed land has been purchased by the state, making it the largest state park in Illinois. Before the land transfer, reclamation was aimed at recreational/wildlife use. This included a mix of farmland, lakes, wetlands, and forests. Many of the trees planted in the 1980’s are now becoming mature forests. Wildlife became established and the value of this extensive area has continued to grow. This reclaimed site will provide recreational benefits for years to come.

Director’s Award (Cultural, historical, and archaeological preservation)

Falkirk Mining Company, North Dakota
Peabody Western Coal Company – Kayenta Mine, Navajo Reservation-Arizona

Falkirk Mining Company Mine, Underwood, North Dakota, and Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta Mine, Navajo County, Arizona.   Each year, the Director’s Award recognizes outstanding achievement in a special area of reclamation. The 2002 Director’s Award goes to two operations, Falkirk Mining Company and Peabody Western Coal Company, for exemplary cultural, historical, and archaeological preservation.

The Falkirk Mine is located in a landscape that was home to prehistoric indigenous Indian groups. Permitting over the past 25 years has required many archaeological and historic site surveys, resulting in preservation before mining.  In addition, Falkirk made discoveries during mining that included prehistoric burial and bison-kill sites.  Mining operations were halted until all evidence could be recovered and permanent protection established.

At the Peabody’s Kayenta Mine there is a long history of archaeological research.  Information from Navajo and Hopi traditional medicine men, herbalists, and Black Mesa residents identified special plants.  Local seed was collected and planted.  Since the project began 10 years ago, more than 234,000 cultural plant seedlings have been planted on nearly 170 acres.  In 1966 newly passed federal antiquity laws dictated that, before mining, a thorough investigation had to be made and detailed reports filed.  When the Black Mesa Archaeological Project was initiated, no one realized it would become one of the largest, longest-running archaeological projects in North America.

Best-of-the-Best Award (Awarded to Individuals)

Daniel Fescemyer, Mine Superintendent, and
Larry Morrison, Pit Supervisor, RFI Energy, Inc., Pennsylvania

Special 25th Anniversary AwardsBronze Award – Trapper Mining Inc. – Trapper Mine, ColoradoTrapper Mining, Inc., Trapper Mine, Craig, Colorado, submitted by the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Division, for a reclamation and sedimentation control project which re-created a habitat for deer and elk on the
mine’s 10,000-acre permit area.
Silver Award – Bellaire Corp. – Indian Head Mine, North DakotaBellaire Corporation, Indian Head Mine, Beulah, North Dakota, top example of surface mine reclamation, for complete reclamation of the mine site into cropland and native grassland for cattle grazing.

Gold Award – Solar Sources, Inc. – Sky-Point Mine, IndianaSubmitted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Reclamation Division, for exemplary soil replacement, and for
restoring the site to farmland, which is now producing a variety of crops, including hay, soybeans, and wheat.


Denver, Colorado – The Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (CDMG) and the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) honored the winners of the awards for outstanding reclamation at the CMA’s 105th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition at the Adam’s Mark.

The winners included surface and underground coal mines, individuals and other groups involved in mining and reclamation throughout Colorado.

The 2002 large surface coal mining award for outstanding reclamation went to COLOWYO COAL COMPANY, an affiliate of Kennecott Energy, which operates the largest surface coal mine in Colorado, the COLOWYO MINE in Moffat County. The company was honored for its deployment of innovative state-of-the-art technology, in conjunction with traditional mining and reclamation techniques, to provide increased efficiency in mining and reclamation activities. The company was recognized in particular for its innovative approach to mining and reclamation activities through the use of Computer Aided Earthmoving/Global Positioning Systems. Colowyo uses GPS technology and further equipped its earthmoving machinery with the CAES technology, to enhance efficiency and accuracy of spoil grading activities.

BLUE MOUNTAIN ENERGY, INC. – DESERADO MINE (Rio Blanco County) won the 2002 Underground Coal Mine Award for outstanding efforts in implementing final reclamation of the Staley Gordon/East Portal Area of the Deserado Mine. The efforts focused on restoration of lands to Approximate Original Contour, alternative sediment control measures, importation of topsoil and seeding to maximize the potential for revegetation success.

COLORADO YAMPA COAL COMPANY – ECKMAN PARK MINE 1 & MINE 2 (Routt County), won the 2002 COAL MINE FINAL RECLAMATION AWARD for outstanding and innovative reclamation throughout the 25-year life of the mine, exemplifying successful coal mine reclamation and the feasibility of the phased bond release process. The final Phase III bond release involved approximately 2,400 acres of previously mined land. The site is the largest Colorado mine to complete the cycle of permitting, mining, reclamation and bond release.

The 2002 COAL MINE STEEP-SLOPE RECLAMATION AWARD went to MOUNTAIN COAL COMPANY, L.L.C. – an affiliate of Arch Coal, Inc. – WEST ELK MINE in Gunnison County. The company was cited for outstanding implementation of operating and reclaiming activities on a steep-slope area in Colorado. MCC is recognized for outstanding efforts in reclaiming the Lone Pine Fan Facility. Original installation of the downhill powerline and water pipeline structures involved a technique termed “brush crushing,” allowing the installation of these structures without removing topsoil or exposing the hillside to erosion. The technique also helped to reestablish shrub growth in the disturbance corridor.

Finally, the 2002 COAL MINE EXCELLENCE IN RECLAMATION AWARD was presented to SNOWCAP COAL COMPANY & J.E. STOVER & ASSOCIATES – ROADSIDE NORTH & SOUTH PORTALS MINE (Mesa County). The company was honored for efforts in ensuring that outstanding site reclamation and effective bonding occurred at the mine site and for cooperation, performance, and commitment to excellence in reclamation. Site reclamation includes design and implementation of an innovative mine dewatering plan to ensure that the water level in the old underground workings was maintained at an elevation below the adjacent Interstate 70. J. E. Stover and Associates designed the dewatering plan, installing it in a timely manner.

Canyon Resources Briggs Gold Mine in California Receives Environmental

Recognition from Bureau of Land Management

GOLDEN, Colo., June 12, 2002 — Canyon Resources Corporation (Amex: CAU), a Colorado-based mining company, today announced that its Briggs gold mine in California has received a letter of “recognition for its long-term commitment to excellence in environmentally sound and responsible operations” from the State Director of the United States Bureau of Land Management. The Briggs Mine’s “dedication to ensuring compliance with environmental requirements, resource protection, Tribal consultation, public health and safety, and worker safety, while conducting significant surface impacting operations on public lands, is exemplary of what responsible mining entails.”

The letter also recites projects conducted by the Briggs Mine on-site and elsewhere “within the Panamint Valley to help improve the condition of public lands. Briggs has developed and installed bat habitat at the Briggs Mine, and bat gating at the Riley Mill Site to promote maintenance of healthy bat populations in the Panamint Valley. Briggs has significantly helped in eradicating undesirable water-hungry tamarisk plants at Post Office Springs. The subsequent result has been a remarkable recovery of water at the spring. Briggs has also cleaned-up abandoned mine sites in the Panamint Valley such as Dodd Camp and the Onyx Mine site. Each of these activities has enhanced the quality of public lands.”

2002 Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation Awards

(RENO, NEVADA) At the annual Nevada Mining Association Convention, held September 5 – 7, 2002 at Harvey’s Resort in Lake Tahoe, the Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation Awards were presented to four mining companies and one government entity for their accomplishments in restoring and preserving Nevada’s environment.

  • Coeur Rochester, Inc. was recognized in the area of Wildlife Habitat Enhancement for their work identifying replacement habit for a large colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats discovered in old mine workings at Coeur’s Nevada Packard Project in Pershing County. The relocation project, a cooperative effort by Coeur Rochester, the University of New Mexico, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, provided a model for effective and responsible management of Townsend big-eared bats, while concurrently allowing for human safety and future mineral extraction.
  • Equatorial Tonopah, Inc. was honored for Leadership in Reclamation at the Tonopah Mine in Nye County. The company satisfactorily completed a fast track reclamation of the tailings impoundment and waste rock repositories at the mine, while simultaneously reclaiming historical disturbances at a nearby long-neglected mine site.
  • Newmont Mining Corporation was recognized in the category of Innovative Design and Planning for their work at the Hollister Mine in Elko County. Newmont’s use of innovative water treatment technologies and state-of-the-art store and release soil covers on reclaimed heap leach pads, has prevented environmental damage from acid mine drainage and provided abundant wildlife habitat at the site.
  • Glamis Gold Inc. received the Overall Mine Reclamation award for its work at the Glamis Dee Gold Mine in Elko County. Glamis Gold and previous mine operators have maintained a successful reclamation program at the Dee Gold Mine since 1990. Due to its impressive work in concurrent reclamation, wildlife habitat enhancement, recontouring aesthetics, and closure plan development and implementation, Glamis Gold Inc. was awarded the overall mine reclamation award.
  • The City of Sparks was recognized in the area of Urban Mine Reclamation for their outstanding work at the Sparks Marina Park. The city was recognized for its role in converting an abandoned gravel pit into a beautiful park featuring trails for walking, jogging, and biking, swimming beaches, and a lake stocked with a variety of fish.

“Many of the projects receiving the Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation award are unique in the United States, if not the world,” said Alan Coyner, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Minerals. “Nevada’s mining industry should be commended for leading the way in successful reclamation and environmental protection.”

The Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation Awards are given cooperatively by the Nevada Division of Minerals, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Division of Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service. Forty one projects and three individuals have been recognized since the awards program began in 1990. For more information about mining in Nevada, call the Division of Minerals at (775) 684-7040 (Carson City) or (702) 486-4343 (Las Vegas), or visit their web site at

Kentucky Department for Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Awards

2002 Commissioner’s Award Recipients: Note: Kentucky Links have a picture slide show of each award winner near the bottom of each page.  Each slide show has approximately 5 to 7 pictures each. AEP Kentucky – Pikeville Regional OfficeJamieson Coal Company – Middlesboro Regional OfficeKoch Victory Coal Company – Prestonsburg Regional OfficeWarrior Coal Company – Madisonville Regional OfficePine Branch Coal Company – London Regional OfficeKentucky-Tennesee Clay Company – NON-COAL Award – Madisonville Regional OfficeWest Coal Company – AML Award – Madisonville Regional OfficeMcVey Land Company – AML Award – London Regional OfficeJacobs Ranch Mine Receives Wyoming Game and Fish Stewardship Award in 2000 Kennecott Energy Company’s Jacobs Ranch employees take great pride in their ability to protect the ecosystem in which they operate their coal mining operations.  Last year, Jacobs Ranch  received the Wyoming Game and Fish Stewardship award. The Jacobs Ranch mine is 60% reclaimed, one of the highest percentages in the Powder River Basin. Reclamation operations – re-sculpting the land to match its pre-mining contours, applying top soil and planting native prairie grass, sage brush and other plants – continue year round (except for planting seeds, which is limited to spring and fall). Especially rewarding is seeing how well native animals peacefully co-exist with the mining operations, and reclaim their native habitat as the mine advances. Elk, mule deer, antelope, and burrowing owls are but a few of the wild animals that live at Jacobs Ranch Mine. Some beef cattle also live on the reclaimed land at Jacobs ranch mine, helping in their own way to enhance the growth of grass and hold down the advance of unwanted weed. 

Big Picture: All phases of the mining process at Jacobs ranch mine are shown in the above photograph – topsoil removal (foreground), sub-soil / overburden removal (farther back), coal removal, backfilling, reclamation and mature reclamation. Click on Picture for full size view.

Wildlife Habitat Council award goes to HOMESTAKE MINING COMPANY, Mclaughlin Mine

Lower Lake, California

1999 Corporate Habitat of the Year Award

“The McLaughlin Mine, a large open-pit gold mine located about 70 miles north of San Francisco, has received much praise throughout the years for its reclamation efforts. Homestake has created an environmental land stewardship model for other corporations to emulate with its cutting-edge adaptive management techniques and partnerships with University of California – Berkeley, the Napa County Land Trust, the Napa Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and a multitude of government agencies, contractors and consultants.”Source Wildlife Habitat Council, 1010 Wayne Ave, Suite 920 Silver Spring, MD 20910

Peabody Teams with Local High School to Restore Streamside Habitat

Peabody Energy’s Powder River Coal Co employees teamed with students from Gillette, WY’s, Campbell County High School to hand plant more than 2,200 willow and cottonwood trees along two miles of stream bank at the company’s North Antelope/Rochelle Mine, the nation’s largest and most productive coal mine. The effort is part of Peabody’s “Project Forkhorn,” a broad wildlife habitat reclamation project.

According to Bryan Hansen, environmental specialist for the mine, the trees will promote improved water quality and help the stream support a wider variety of aquatic life. The area is expected to attract an increased population of migratory water birds as well.

“Hand planting is an important technique because it allows us to look at the microtopography within our reclamation to determine the best planting locations for hardy, robust growth,” said Bryan Hansen.

Project Forkhorn has resulted in the hand planting of over 5,000 trees and shrubs. Populations of pronghorn, deer and elk in the area have steadily grown over the past decade and annual environmental monitoring shows that reclaimed lands at the mine are typically twice as productive as native range.

Taken from Peabody press release

U.S. mining tops two million reclaimed acres returning once-mined land to new beneficial uses

“The reclamation of more than 2 million acres of mined lands for new beneficial uses is an extraordinary achievement, and U.S. coal, hard rock and minerals mining companies are proud to have exceeded this important milestone in 2002,” NMA President and CEO Jack N. Gerard said today.

According to recently released U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) data, 73,407 acres of land area were included in Phase III bond release in 2002 under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). Phase III bond release includes land area where reclamation is fully complete and the land has been released from its extended responsibility period by the regulatory authority. The total is compiled on a fiscal year basis and is cumulative through September 2002.

“This brings the total land reclaimed since 1978 to 2,025,882 acres, according to OSM data,” Gerard said. “Added to this is an estimated 39,000 additional acres (based on major state mineral agencies’ data) reclaimed by mineral mining companies, for a total of 2,064,882 acres.” In addition, tens of thousands of additional acres have been reclaimed but have not yet been released from the extended responsibility period required under applicable state and federal laws.

Gerard said, “These reclaimed lands are benefiting society in a variety of ways – as recreation areas and facilities, farming and rangeland, wetlands, wildlife refuges and sites for badly needed facilities such as hospitals, shopping centers, schools and office and industrial parks. They represent an important legacy for a sustainable future in mining districts.”

Gerard noted that OSM data also indicate more than $6 billion has been paid by coal producing companies into OSM’s Abandoned Mine Land Program. Of that, some $4.5 billion has been spent, with roughly $2 billion going directly to reclaim 180,000 acres of abandoned coal mines. This includes 20,000 mine shafts that have been filled in and sealed; 2.5 million feet of highwalls (large mounds of earth) that have been removed; and 100,000 acres of coal refuse piles that have been reclaimed or eliminated.

“Reclamation of the land we use is an ongoing commitment. Last year’s record-breaking achievement demonstrates how reclamation professionals from industry and federal and state government can work together to ensure responsible mining practices that not only provide needed products for the nation’s economy, but also pass on an astonishing array of new land uses for the benefit of future generations,” Gerard concluded.