Bureau of Land Management Announces Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Award Winners for 2019


Bureau of Land Management

WASHINGTON -- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today recognized four hardrock mining companies for their commitment to the use of sustainable development practices in their daily operations. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Washington by BLM Deputy Director for Operations Michael D. Nedd.

The Department of the Interior created the Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards Program to showcase some of the finest examples of responsible mineral resource development. The purpose of the awards is to recognize superior work involving the three components of sustainable development: environmental health, social responsibility and economic security. The awards are presented to coal operators by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and by the BLM to other solid minerals operations.

“The BLM appreciates those organizations that share its commitment to the sustainable development of natural resources,” said Nedd. “The companies we recognize today best exemplify these objectives without compromising the needs of future generations and by increasing revenue to support national interests.”

The BLM’s 2019 Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards went to companies in four different categories of achievement:

  • Graymont Western US Indian Creek Mine, Townsend, Montana, winner of the Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award, which recognizes achievements demonstrating continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed Federal, State or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight. Graymont is being recognized for exceptional efforts it has made to reestablish vegetation critical for wildlife habitat, including the annual planting of 1,500 nursery-raised seedlings. Graymont is also being recognized for its dedication to preventing pollution and minimizing both noise and dust both during and after operations and for its continued spraying and eradication of noxious weeds, both in town and in the surrounding areas.
  • Willow Creek Reservoir Rehabilitation Project, Elko, Nevada, winner of the Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award, which recognizes the successful coordination of projects with local and regional stakeholders, including those projects that contribute to the quality of life or demonstrate concern for the long-term health of the local community, while fostering a strong local economy. Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. is being recognized for its efforts to repair and replace components of the Willow Creek Reservoir, first constructed in 1884. The project included a full concrete restoration of the dam, installation of new fencing and egress gates, installation of modern gate valve components and construction of a new boat ramp and fish habitat structures.
  • Race Family Mining Operation (DBA Goldnuts, LLC), Jack Wade, Alaska, winner of the Hardrock Mineral Small Operator Award, which recognizes operators or organizations, with fewer than 15 employees, who have demonstrated continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed Federal, State or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight. The Race Family Mining Operation is being recognized for their progressive approach to stream reclamation in the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River area of Alaska. Since 2014, they have improved upon traditional reclamation practices in order to accelerate both wildlife and fisheries habitat recovery. They have also conducted stream reclamation procedures for neighboring operations.
  • Newmont USA Limited, Elko Nevada, winner of the Mine Legacy Steward Award, which recognizes partnership activities that assist in addressing hardrock abandoned mine land features across the American West. Individuals, as well as organizations, are eligible for this award. Newmont USA is being recognized for closing a series of abandoned mine land features in the Delcer District that posed a threat to both public health and the environment. These features included vertical shafts of up to 50 feet, shafts filled with tangled wooden beams and wire, as well as a variety of other smaller pits and shafts.

Federal lands contain minerals such as potash, phosphate, sodium, and gilsonite, components used in fertilizers, glass and paper. They also contain saleable mineral materials, including sand, gravel, dirt, rock, and locatable hard rock minerals, such as copper and gold. In fiscal year 2018, nonenergy minerals produced from federal lands were valued at $88,796,497, and supported more than 46,000 jobs nationwide.

Sustainable development is a concept adopted by the United States and 192 other countries to balance environmental, economic and social concerns in planning for mining operations. 

Nominations for BLM hardrock mineral awards were first screened by BLM State office officials, who forwarded applications to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, for final judging by a panel of mining experts, Federal or State employees, academics and members of the public.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.