The U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI) recently awarded American coal and mineral mines for their outstanding contributions to the environment, mine reclamation and community outreach. The awards were presented by officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) in ceremonies hosted by the National Mining Association at its MINExpo INTERNATIONAL 2012 mining equipment exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“NMA is proud of these award winners for the commitment they have demonstrated to modern mining methods and for the progress U.S. mining has made in practicing sustainable mining in cooperation with local communities,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn.

“Today more than ever before, ‘good mining’ means ‘good neighbor.’ The economic development fostered by our mines in the areas where they operate is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to sustainable development,” said incoming NMA Chairman Frank McAllister, chairman and CEO of Stillwater Mining Co.

Marcilynn Burke, acting assistant secretary for land and minerals, represented DoI and presented the BLM awards. Al Klein, director of the Western Region for OSM, presented those awards. All award-winning operations were selected by DoI judging panels. The two federal agencies sponsor the annual awards recognizing the best environmental and reclamation practices throughout the year for coal and minerals mining.

The Department of the Interior began the environmental awards program for mining in 1986 with the OSM “Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award.” A parallel program for abandoned mine land reclamation was launched in 1992. BLM first presented its mining awards in 2003 to recognize sustainable development practices that include separate categories for environmental practices throughout the mining community.

The winners of the DoI’s annual Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards are:
•    BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award: Barrick Gold Corp., Golden Sunlight Mine, Jefferson County, Montana
•    BLM Hardrock Mineral Small Operator Award: Taiga Mining Co., Bear Creek Operation, Alaska
•    BLM Community Outreach and Economic Security Award: Newmont Mining Corp., Community Investment and Sustainability Programs, Nevada

OSM National Awards:
•    Peabody Energy, Cottage Grove Mine, Equality, Illinois
•    Glenrock Coal Co., Dave Johnson Mine, Glenrock, Wyoming
•    Peabody Powder River Mining, LLC, North Antelope Rochelle Mine, Wright, Wyoming

OSM Good Neighbor Awards:
•    Alcoa Inc., Sandow Mine, Rockdale, Texas
•    Cloud Peak Energy Resources LLC, Antelope, Cordero Rojo, and Spring Creek Mines, Gillette, Wyoming