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Bureau of Land Management
For Release: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Contact:
Phil Allard
(202) 452-5195
Jeffrey Krauss
(202) 452-5127
 

BLM Announces Hardrock Mining Awards Winners

Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke today announced the inaugural winners of the 2003 Hardrock Mining awards. The Hardrock Mineral Environmental Winners are Vulcan Materials Company’s Morongo Project, California, and Stillwater Mining Company, Montana. The Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security winners are Kennecott Flambeau Mine, Wisconsin and Phelps Dodge Miami, Inc., Arizona. The awards recognize environmentally sound mineral development operations on public and private lands and acknowledge successful partnering efforts in helping ensure a safe and productive hardrock mining industry.

“The companies we honor tonight are in the business of mineral development, but they have made the health of the land and its resources their business, too,” BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said. “They have made important contributions to healthier landscapes, better habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation, conservation, and other values and interests that advance our agency’s multiple-use mission and serve the public interest,” she added.

Director Clarke will present the awards to the winners tonight at the National Mining Association’s 26th Annual Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C.

The new BLM awards are similar to existing Department of Interior awards for excellence in coal mining reclamation. The hardrock mining awards enable the Department of Interior to recognize the industrial and metallic minerals industry, as well as sand and gravel operators.

The new awards are the Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award and the Hardrock Mineral Award for Community Outreach and Economic Security. Nominations for the hardrock mining awards were first screened by BLM State Office officials, who forwarded the applications to BLM Headquarters for final judging. A panel of judges that included people from outside the BLM completed the judging. Complete information on the winners is attached.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land — 261 million surface acres — than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.9 billion and a workforce of some 10,000 full-time, permanent employees, also administers 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing activities such as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural and other resources on the public lands.

- BLM -


Background Information on Award Winners

The Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award recognizes effective environmental stewardship. The recipients have a demonstrated track record of successfully meeting or exceeding federal, state or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight.

The Hardrock Mineral Award for Community Outreach and Economic Security recognizes the economic benefits of mineral development, with an emphasis on successful coordination with local and regional stakeholders. Projects that enhance the quality of life or demonstrate a concern for the long-term health of the local community will be recognized in this category. Operators who use new or innovative techniques so they can operate effectively in technically challenging conditions or in critical environmental settings will also be recognized in this category.


Winners of the Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award are:

Vulcan Materials Company’s Morongo Project, located on the Reservation of the Morongo Band of the Mission Indians, California. The nomination was submitted by Vulcan Materials Company. The former sand and gravel operation worked closely with the Morongo Band to develop the reclamation plan. They agreed to specific performance standards on a clearly defined time schedule that included bonding for each item. The two parties also agreed to use an independent third party to evaluate the work and its completion. The reclamation used revegetation techniques for native habitat restoration that went beyond state and Federal requirements.

Stillwater Mining Company’s Stillwater Mine in Nye, Montana and East Boulder Mine in McLeod, Montana. The company’s nomination was supported by the U.S. Forest Service, Stillwater Protective Association, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Cottonwood Resource Council, and the Center for Science in Public Participation. The mine, which is in sight of the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness Area, produces platinum and palladium group metals. The award recognizes the company’s efforts in water management. The company minimizes impacts to the water through the reduction of pollutant sources, recycling, and treating water prior to discharge through biological de-nitrification, land application and snowmaking.

Winners in the Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security are:

Kennecott’s Flambeau Mine located in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. The City of Ladysmith nominated the Flambeau Mine of the Kennecott Minerals Company for the award. The metallic sulfide mine was located 1.7 miles from the city and less than 150 feet from the Flambeau River. Initially, the community of Flambeau expressed opposition to the permitting of the project, specifically related to processing the ore on site, environmental protection of the Flambeau River, and mine site and leaving the open pit as a lake. The company incorporated changes to address the community’s concerns. The company also began an effective process of open and honest consultation that was formalized and became a part of the site’s reclamation and closure plan. During operation, the mine yielded 1.8 million tons of ore producing 181,000 tons of copper, 334,000 ounces of gold and 3.3 million ounces of silver. During reclamation, the open pit was backfilled in the same geologic sequence and the site reclaimed with over four miles of conservation trails, newly established native plant communities, and an 8.5-acre wetland. The Mine also provided numerous contributions to the local community, including major funding for a new $1.3 million library.

Phelps Dodge Miami, Inc., is located in Gila County, Arizona. The nomination of Phelps Dodge Miami was supported by the Office of the Governor of the State of Arizona, the U.S. Forest Service District Ranger, the Gila County Board of Supervisors, the Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation, the town of Miami, Arizona, and the city of Globe, Arizona. Phelps Dodge Miami, Inc, a copper mining, smelting, and refining operation, has developed a multi faceted community outreach program that enhances the quality of life and long-term sustainability of the community. They accomplish this through corporate-community partnering, employee volunteerism, safety and environmental awareness, and an open public participation process. Phelps Dodge Miami has used its outreach programs to assist partners in meeting their own goals, such as assisting the county of Miami with its master plan, helping develop financing for a hospital expansion and assisting with sewer improvements and initiatives for tourism and economic development.