A total of 11 awards of excellence were presented to Southwest Virginia coal companies during the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance’s 48th annual Fall Meeting and “Excellence In Mining Awards,” recently at the Russell County Government Center in Lebanon.
Awards presented included those for AML enhancement, best active surface mine, best completed surface mine, best refuse disposal, best completed deep mine, best forestry reclamation approach, best active deep mine, best completed fill, best active prep plant, best stewardship in mining and reclamation and a 15-Year Legacy award.
Jerry Mullins, vice president of Government Affairs and Coalitions for the National Mining Association, gave an update on legislative issues in Washington D.C. and the current state of the 2020 presidential election cycle. VCEA Government Affairs Director Clark Lewis gave an overview of state election results and legislative issues. VCEA Assistant Director of Environmental Affairs Patrick Fanning provided an overview of federal and state environmental topics.
The membership also heard from Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Deputy Director Butch Lambert on mine safety and DMME issues.
Delegate Will Morefield and Delegate-Elect Will Wampler were in attendance and delivered brief remarks.
Cody Mumpower, from 9th District Congressman Morgan Griffith’s office, was also in attendance.
Excellence in Mining Awards presented and saw the VCEA Legacy Award go to Paramont Coal Company Virginia, LLC, in Russell County. Contour, steep slope and auger mining techniques were used to remove the coal on this site. Mining began in 2002 and was completed in 2004. The trees have been planted for more than 14 years. Thanks to successful reclamation, the mine site is now part of the surrounding forest. Rick Altizer is the DMME inspector.
Additional excellence awards presented were as follows:
Best AML Enhancement: Savage Services Corporation, Looney Creek Gob Pile Removal, Wise County. The company recovered coal from the gob pile. Through the AML enhancement project, Savage Services Company recovers waste coal from the gob pile and uses proceeds from those coal sales to offset the cost of the reclamation. The company is a major supplier for Dominion’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center. John Jones is the DMME inspector.
Best Active Surface Mine: Russell County Reclamation, LLC, Russell County. Active mining is underway on this permit while the company is working to reclaim the former Moss #3 preparation plant facilities and associated impoundments. Heather McDonald-Taylor is the DMME inspector.
Best Completed Surface Mine: Paramont Reclamation, LLC, Wise and Dickenson counties. This permit consists of 739 acres with 11 seams mined. The permit was mined using surface auger and surface contour methods. Backfilling and regrading of the entire site are complete. John Boyd is the DMME inspector.
Best Refuse Disposal: Ramaco Resources Land Holdings, LLC, Tazewell County. The plant, deep mine and refuse facility are all located in close proximity. The permit is nearly 323 acres and is all bonded. The Ramaco team continues to maintain the refuse disposal site. Ralph Stacy is the DMME inspector.
Best Completed Deep Mine: Paramont Contura, LLC, Wise and Dickenson counties. The permitted area consists of 47.75 acres that have been reclaimed. The site mined the Norton seam with the room and pillar method. The post-mining land use is of unmanaged forest and hay-land and pasture. John Boyd is the DMME inspector.
Best Forestry Reclamation Approach: Red River Coal Company, Inc., Wise County. The permitted area consists of 2,324.84 acres that have been reclaimed using the forestry reclamation approach. Backfilling and regrading was done using a one pass regrading method. John Clevinger is the DMME inspector.
Best Active Deep Mine: Buchanan Minerals, LLC, Buchanan County. The permitted area consists of 801.65 acres. The operation is well maintained and has an excellent compliance record. The operation consists of a long wall mining operation, preparation plant, refuse disposal and load out. Lail Deel is the DMME inspector.
Best Completed Hollow Fill: Red River Coal Company, LLC, Wise County. The permitted area consists of 827.81 acres. Hollow Fill G contains 3.7 million cubic yards. The fill was completed on April 20, 2016. John Clevinger is the DMME inspector.
Best Active Preparation Plant: Ramaco Resources Land Holdings, LLC, Tazewell County. This is a preparation plant and load out facility. The site is well kept and the load out, deep mine and refuse facility are all in close proximity to the plant. The permitted area consists of 41.94 acres. Ralph Stacy is the DMME Inspector.
Best Stewardship in Mining and Reclamation: Norton Coal Company, LLC, Tazewell County. This is a reclaimed surface mine with 551.30 acres permitted. All ponds, sumps and structures are well maintained. The reclamation efforts by Norton Coal Company LLC demonstrate excellent land stewardship. Ralph Stacy is the DMME inspector.