The mine received the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety’s 2014 Excellence in Safety Award for its place as the state’s leader in mine safety among large underground coal mines in Colorado. It marks the sixth consecutive year that West Elk has been recognized as the safest underground coal mine in the state, an achievement unmatched by any other Colorado large underground operation.

Additionally, West Elk was recognized by the state agency for its outstanding reclamation and the successful stabilization and remediation of a large native landslide area.

Crews accepted an Environmental Stewardship-Pollution Prevention Senior Participant Award for meeting its goals of remaining a zero water discharge facility by recycling water used during the mining process. To date, West Elk also recycled more than 761,000 lb of metal materials and continues to minimize the creation of waste rock by effectively utilizing its coal preparation facility.

The 350-worker mine received all three awards last week at the 117th annual National Western Mining Conference and Exhibition in Denver, which was held in conjunction with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration’s (SME) annual conference and exhibition.

“Through the dedication of its employees, West Elk continues to stand out among peers in safety and environmental performance,” said John W. Eaves, Arch president and chief executive officer. “I am extremely proud of their achievements and challenge them to build upon their record of excellence and to strive for continuous improvement in the future.”