Cloud Peak Energy’s Cordero Rojo mine, located near Gillette, Wyoming, received the 2015 State of Wyoming Reclamation Award from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Quality Division for the successful restoration of the Belle Fourche River. The award was presented at the Wyoming Mining Association’s Annual Safety and Reclamation Banquet in Cody, Wyoming, on June 19.

Through design and reconstruction, the Cordero Rojo mine relocated a portion of the Belle Fourche River and reclaimed the stream channel to provide approximately the same conditions as premining. The reclaimed stream channel is stable from erosion with abundant grass cover, and the aquatic life has been established with macro invertebrates and invertebrates.

“Reclamation is a critical part of the mining process, and this award recognizes the successful work of all our employees at the Cordero Rojo mine,” said Colin Marshall, President and CEO of Cloud Peak Energy. “We will continue to return the land to a condition that is as good as or better than before mining began.”

“Moving and returning the Belle Fourche River was a major project for our team, requiring significant planning and execution,” said Joe Vaccari, general manager of the Cordero Rojo mine. “Its completion highlights our commitment to reclamation and environmental stewardship.”

Cordero Rojo mined and shipped approximately 34.8 million tons in 2014, making it the third largest coal mine by production in the U.S. Also in 2014, Cordero Rojo received approval for final, phase-three bond release on more than 900 acres of permanently reclaimed land from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

More than 50,000 people have visited the Powell River projects to learn about mine reclamation.

US Mining Hall of Fame Recognizes Powell River Project

The National Mining Hall of Fame will present the Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award to the Powell River Project Research and Education Center, a Virginia Tech program that conducts research and education programs to enhance the restoration of coal-mined lands in partnership with the Appalachian coal mining industry.

The Powell River Project was created in 1980 in direct response to coal mine reclamation challenges presented by the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Its purpose has been to identify reclamation practices and post-mine land uses most beneficial to communities in the coal field region, particularly in the realm of reclaiming and reforesting mined lands with native hardwood species, and the utilization of reclaimed areas for agriculture and horticulture. Each year, hundreds of people visit the center to learn about mining, reclamation, and environmental protection at Appalachian coal mines. Since its establishment, more than 50,000 visitors have participated in educational programs at the center.

The 2015 Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held on October 23, at the Omni William Penn Hotel ballroom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.