The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) has handed down its 2016 National Reclamation Award to Alpha Natural Resources’ Paramont Coal for its work at the Hawks Nest surface reclamation project in Virginia. The Buchanan County site had been a pre-law surface operation near Grundy, where active mining began again in 2004. The current Hawks Nest development has a business park, Southern Gap, with industrial and business sites as well as a growing residential area. Recreation areas such as the Poplar Gap community park, athletic fields, and a large playground and gymnasium are also at the site. At the start of Paramont’s reclamation, the Virginia Industrial Development Authority (IDA) had just five acres of land for potential development in the entire county. The agency found the operator had the “the ability or foresight” for the project, which is now more than 1,100 acres.
Specifically, Paramont’s work included restoration of more than 4,500 feet of stream and extensive planting of hybrid American Chestnut trees. The reforestation at Hawks Nest has attracted elk, resulting in elk viewing tours beginning this year at Breaks Interstate Park. Also, U.S. Route 460 will intersect at Hawks Nest; it will be the first completed section of the Coalfields Expressway that will eventually connect with Interstate 77 in West Virginia.
“The major growth in Buchanan County for the next 40 to 50 years, including hotels and shopping, manufacturing and business, will be located in Southern Gap,” IDA Director Craig Horn said.
“Environmental stewardship is a priority within any mine plan, and we pride ourselves on demonstrating how reclaimed land can bring opportunities to the region after the mining has been completed,” added Vice President of Operations Blake Hall.
Paramont was on hand to receive the award at the recent Interstate Mining Compact Commission annual meeting at Lake Placid, New York.