US coal miner Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine has been awarded the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reclamation award, an accolade that president and COO Paul Lang said on Tuesday was a “great honour for the men and women at the mine”.
"We applaud the exceptional efforts of the entire Black Thunder team, and commend them for the tremendous example they are setting for the global mining industry,” Lang said in a media statement.
Black Thunder was honoured for all aspects of its reclamation efforts, with a particular focus on those activities that go "far above and beyond" the regulatory requirements. Such activities include improvements to sage grouse habitat, support of raptor populations, investigations into the migration patterns of the burrowing owl, and advanced monitoring to confirm the productivity improvements on reclaimed lands, to name a few.
"The reclamation is and will continue to be a bright spot for ranchers, Wyoming wildlife and nature lovers long after mining has been complete," the DEQ said in announcing the award. "The reclaimed lands will continue to encourage the growth of Wyoming's economy through mining, ranching, and wildlife habitat."
Meanwhile, the Black Thunder mine recently surpassed ten years of operation without a single environmental violation.
Black Thunder is the nation's second largest coal mine, and recently surpassed three-billion tons of coal shipped during its mine life.