The award is a credit to Pfannenstiel’s work directing Mongolia’s first coal mine restoration project near the community of Bulgan, which included collaboration with joint venture partner Peabody-Winsway, based in Ulaanbaatar.
The Ereen mine restoration project was designed in consultation with the Mongolian government, the Mongolian Agricultural University and the Mongolian Forage Seed Producers Association. Many of the principles applied were pioneered at Peabody operations on indigenous lands in the United States where there are similar environmental conditions and cultural needs.
“Peabody is a global leader advancing world-class mining and restoration practices founded on key principles of excellence in safety, operations, and environmental and social responsibility,” said Peabody Chairman and CEO Greg Boyce. “We are proud of Vern’s leadership in establishing practices that will create a lasting legacy for the Mongolian people.”
Project team members included 60 U.S. and Mongolian environmental scientists, engineers and technicians who restored an 18 hectare area to hardy, productive rangeland. Notably, a local workforce was recruited and trained to accomplish the job, completing more than 60,000 project hours without a safety incident.
The Ereen project also developed a new water source for livestock and a fresh drinking water source for area residents who previously had no nearby access to potable water, demonstrating the importance of sustainable practice.
One year following project completion, the former Ereen mine site is a productive pasture that ultimately will be used for traditional livestock grazing or hay production. Seeding results exceeded the accepted criteria for excellent plant establishment, and the forage in the seeded areas is more than four times that of the adjacent native lands.