Reclamation plans at the Spring Creek mine incorporate a variety of livestock grazing, pastureland and wildlife habitats into the post-mining environment. The mine’s reclamation program utilizes a four-pronged approach to maximize post-mining diversity in designated post-mine wildlife habitat areas, including an emphasis on hydrology, vegetation, substrate and topography. The advantages of a diverse post-mining landscape include improved grazing potential and wildlife use, according to Cloud Peak Energy.
“We take great pride in reclaiming the land we mine,” said Colin Marshall, president and CEO of Cloud Peak Energy. “This award highlights the strong commitment of everyone at Spring Creek and Cloud Peak Energy to returning land to a condition as good if not better than before mining began, while meeting the post-mine land use that is essential to reclamation bond release.”
Cloud Peak Energy’s mines have received the Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award in 2009 (Spring Creek mine), 2010 (Antelope mine), 2014 (Antelope mine) and 2015 (Cordero Rojo mine). The mines received the awards for various projects reclaiming previously mined areas and successfully reintroducing native plants.
“The long-term benefits of the successful establishment of vegetative diversity is exactly what reclamation should look like,” added Dave Schwend, general manager of the Spring Creek mine. “The success of these practices at the Spring Creek mine provides a pathway for other mining operations. These reclamation methods utilized can be implemented at other mining operations throughout the west, thereby promoting the establishment of similarly productive and valuable habitats.”
In addition to the 2017 reclamation award, Cloud Peak Energy’s Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines were also partners in the 2017 OSM Good Neighbor Award presented to the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association for the collaborative effort among colleagues (within and among mines), neighbors, lessees, government agencies and local agricultural producers to implement coordinated conservation projects that reach beyond permit obligations to positively impact regional conservation efforts and land management decisions.
Spring Creek mined and shipped approximately 10.3 million tons of low sulfur coal in 2016.