Several awards for excellence in mining and reclamation were presented recently by the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance (VCEA). Companies were nominated for the awards by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.
Best Innovation in Mining and Reclamation: Paramont Coal Co. Virginia LLC was recognized for its mitigation project involving more than 3,000 ft of stream improvement through bank stabilization, realignment and installation of in-stream structures in the lower section of Dumps Creek in Russell County. It was noted that with the success of the reclamation project, Dumps Creek is set to be removed in 2016 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s list of impaired streams.
15-year Legacy Award: Jerry Wharton accepted the award for an area his company had surface mined and reclaimed in Dickenson County. The legacy award recognizes the successful implementation of these land uses as the reclaimed area is now a significant commercial area in Dickenson County.
Best AML Enhancement: GOBCO LLC was recognized for the McClure Creek Gob Pile Removal in Dickenson County. GOBCO won the award for the third year in a row. GOBCO is a major fuel supplier for Dominion’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center. Through the AML enhancement project, GOBCO recovers waste coal from the gob pile and uses proceeds from the coal sales to offset the cost of the reclamation.
Best Completed Deep Mine: Mill Branch Coal Corp. in Wise County was recognized for its reclamation and regrading of the area early in 2015 and its accomplishment of a section of stream mitigation. Vegetative cover has been rapidly established.
Best Completed Surface Mine: Paramont Coal Co. Virginia LLC was recognized for its work on the Hawks Nest permit in Buchanan County. In mining and reclaiming this permit, Paramont eliminated pre-SMCRA highwalls, planted native hardwoods, restored stream channels, reclaimed an area for industrial development and constructed portions of the Coalfields Expressway. The permit won national reclamation awards from OSM and the National Association of State Land Reclamationists and will be considered for an Interstate Mining Compact Commission national award.
Best Active Surface Mine: Red River Coal Co. Inc. was recognized as a model of contemporaneous reclamation and for its implementation of a number of land uses.
Best Combination Mining: Lone Mountain Processing Inc. in Lee County was recognized for the third year in a row for its processing operation and refuse disposal site.
Best Active Deep Mine: CONSOL Energy’s Buchanan Mining Co. LLC was recognized for its operation of the Buchanan mine in Buchanan County.
Best Completed Fill: CONSOL Energy’s Island Creek Coal Co. in Buchanan County was recognized for its construction and reclamation of the VP3 refuse fill in accordance with all requirements. The reclaimed refuse facility is extremely well vegetated and attracts numerous native wildlife species which include white tail deer, turkey, black bear, and a variety of song birds.
Best Stewardship in Mining and Reclamation: Dominion and its Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) in Wise County were recognized for their design plan, which includes procuring fuel from responsible sources where environmental protection and reclamation are fully incorporated into operations. Implementing the design plan for VCHEC, a significant percentage of its fuel is from gob piles. This accomplishes the complete removal of environmentally degrading gob piles at little cost to state agencies.