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Thirty-three West Virginia mining operations were recognized for stellar safety efforts in 2009 during the West Virginia Coal Association’s 37th Annual Mining Symposium on Thursday.
Simmons Fork Mining, LLC’s Ewing Fork #1 operation took the top honor for surface mines, claiming the Bart B. Lay, Jr. Milestones of Safety Award. Raney said Mingo-Logan’s Mountaineer #2 mine claimed this year’s Eustace Frederick Milestones of Safety Award for underground mines.
The West Virginia Coal Association’s Mountaineer Guardian Awards are presented each year to mining companies that have demonstrated a commitment to safety standards.  Inspectors for the West Virginia Office of Mine Health Safety and Training nominate companies based on numerous criteria.  The companies receiving Mountaineer Guardian Awards for 2009 are listed below
 
Eustace Frederick Milestone’s In Safety Award
Underground Mines
Mingo Logan Mountaineer #2 Operation
 
Bart B. Lay Milestone’s in Safety Award
Surface Mines
Simmons Fork Mining LLC, Ewing Fork #1
Underground
Wolf Run Mining Company                            Imperial Mine
Consolidation Coal Company                         Blacksville #2
Eastern Associated Coal Corp.                      Federal #2
Consolidation Coal Company                         Loveridge Mine
Brooks Run Mining Company LLC                Cucumber Mine
Pinnacle Mining Company LLC                      Pinnacle Mine
Mountain Edge Mining Inc.                             Sugar Maple Mine
Rivers Edge Mining Inc.                                 Rivers Edge Mine
Newtown Energy Inc.                                                 Coalburg #2 Mine
Aracoma Coal Company                                Henshaw Mine
Kingston Resources Inc.                                 Kingston #1
Brooks Run Mining Company LLC                Poplar Ridge #1
Midland Trail Energy LLC                               Campbell’s Creek #7
Surface
Simmons Fork Mining Inc.                             Paynter Branch
Alex Energy Inc.                                             North Surface #1
Phoenix Coal-Mac Mining Inc.                       Holden 22 Surface
White Flame Energy Inc.                                White Flame #10
Southern WV Resources LLC                        #1 Surface Mine
ICG Eastern LLC                                            Birch River Mine
Fola Coal Company LLC                                Surface Mine #1
Preparation Plants
Carter Roag Coal Company                           Star Bridge Preparation Plant
Litwar Processing Company, LLC                  Litwar Preparation Plant
Peabody Coal Company                                Big Mountain Preparation Plant
Eastern Associated Coal Corp.                      Harris Preparation Plant
Mingo Logan Coal Company                          Cardinal Preparation Plant
Argus Energy WV                                           Wayne County River Terminal
Fola Coal Company                                        Peach Orchard Preparation Plant
West Virginia Mine Power Inc.                       Midland Trail #1 Preparation Plant
ICG Eastern LLC                                            Birch River Preparation Plant
Quarry Operations
US Silica                                                         Berkeley Springs
Independent Contractors
Tyler Trucking Company LLC
The Reclamation Awards are co-sponsored by the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection. To be eligible, a mining operation must be nominated by their local state inspector.The Greenlands Award, the state’s top environmental award, went to the International Coal Group’s Beckley-Pocahontas facility in Raleigh County. The companies receiving Environmental Awards are listed below:
 
Greenlands Award
ICG Beckley, LLC
Beckley-Pocahontas Facility
U-30011-95
For outstanding attention to environmental protection and performance in the construction and operation of an underground mine and related surface facilities r in Raleigh County, West Virginia that included reactivating a long-idle construction and mining site.  The construction of the facility also involved the remediation and reclamation of a pre-law coal refuse site.  The company also completed several projects related to community improvements and protections such as constructing roads and bridges to minimize truck traffic on public roads, paving the roads that access the site and installing noise-reduction measures on fans and bins.  Additionally, ICG Beckley, LLC established a Community Advisory Panel to maintain communications and relations with local residents and community leaders.
 
Surface Mine North Award
D&L Coal Company
D&L Surface Mine
S-2002-97
For exemplary reclamation of 15 acre surface mining operation in Mineral County, West Virginia.  During the mining and reclamation of the permit, D&L Coal Company also successfully remediated pre-law acid mine drainage and surface impacts that existed on the site including the addition of alkaline material to underground mine entries.  The reclaimed operation has significantly improved the water quality and pre-mining appearance of the land.
 
Surface Mine North Award
Oxford Mining Company
Cross Creek Surface Mine
S-2003-04
For the outstanding reclamation, including the elimination and remediation of pre-law mining impacts, of a surface mining operation in Brooke County, West Virginia.  Oxford Mining eliminated pre-existing highwalls, returned the site to approximate original contour and established vegetative cover in accordance with a wildlife post-mining land use in anticipation of the reclaimed area becoming part of the adjacent Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area.
 
Surface Facility Construction Award
Coal-Mac, Inc.
Duty Branch Belt Line
O-5007-97
For the exceptional attention to environmental and community protection in the construction of new coal haulage beltline and coal slurry line located in Mingo and Logan counties, West Virginia.  Coal-Mac, Inc. minimized the surface disturbance associated with the construction of the facilities and installed state-of-the-art equipment to monitor the conditions and performance of the coal slurry line.   Additionally, Coal-Mac, Inc. installed several safety features that automatically stop slurry flow in the line if a flaw is detected through the use of automatic sensors adjacent to the line.  The construction of the slurry line allowed Coal-Mac, Inc. to utilize an existing refuse site and avoid the disturbance associated with constructing a new facility.
 
Underground Mine South Award
Riverside Energy, Inc.
Copperhead Mine
U-4013-00
For outstanding operation and reclamation of the surface installations associated with an underground mine in Wyoming County, West Virginia.  Riverside Energy sealed the underground mine entries and quickly backfilled and graded the disturbed area to approximate original contour.  The backfilled area was quickly seeded and excellent vegetation has been established.  Additionally, no violations have ever been received at this site during its operational life and through reclamation.
 
Surface Facility Construction Award
Pinnacle Mining Company, LLC
Asco Surface Facility
U-204-83
For the exemplary design, planning and construction of an exhaust fan location for an underground mining operation in Wyoming County, West Virginia.  Pinnacle Mining conducted extensive pre-construction testing and later relocated the installation based on the presence of existing, pre-law underground mining activities below the proposed shaft.  The initial construction site was retained as a placement site for the new shaft construction and drilling operations, eliminating additional disturbance that would be required for a new disposal location.
 
Surface Mine South Award
Pioneer Fuel Corporation
Ewing Fork No. 2 Surface Mine
S-3018-03
For the outstanding operation and reclamation of portions of a contour surface mine in Fayette County, West Virginia.  Pioneer Fuels has demonstrated excellent environmental protection practices in the construction and initial reclamation of five valley fills and the backfilling and re-grading of 165 acres that have been reclaimed and planted with native hardwood tress.
 
Coal Refuse Facility North Award
ICG Eastern , LLC
Birch River Operation
S-35-76
For the construction and ongoing operation of pioneering coal refuse disposal facilities in Webster County, West Virginia.  Coal refuse disposal at the Birch River Operation is accomplished through the construction of coal refuse cells located on the mine bench with special attention to preventing the formation of acid mine drainage and allowing for timely and effective reclamation of the cells.  Additionally, the Birch River Operation has incorporated the refuse areas into their overall reclamation plan which is designed according to the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative.
 
Coal Refuse Facility South Award
Green Valley Coal Company
Blue Branch Refuse Area
O-10-83
For the outstanding reclamation of coal refuse facility in Nicholas County, West Virginia.  Green Valley Coal Company exceeded permit requirements and expectations in the reclamation of a coal refuse fill through re-grading and topsoil placement that has promoted good vegetative cover that invites wildlife to the area.
 
Coal Refuse Facility South Award
Kanawha Eagle Coal Company
New West Hollow Refuse Disposal Area
R-752
For the outstanding and timely reclamation of a large coal refuse impoundment facility in Kanawha County, West Virginia.  Kanawha Eagle performed the complicated and difficult task of eliminating the 50-acre impounding capacity of the facility, converting refuse and slurry disposal to a slurry cell system while operating and maintaining adequate refuse capacity for the large three-mine underground complex.
 
Haulroad Construction North Award
Marion Docks, Inc.
Beech Lick Haulroad No. 1
O-2001-08
For the exemplary construction and operation of a haulroad associated with two surface mines in Marion County, West Virginia.  Marion Docks used existing rights-of-way on an abandoned railroad grade, along pre-law surface mine benches and existing, unimproved roads to avoid new disturbance.  The existing grades were substantially upgraded with sediment control features to effectively control runoff and off-site impacts from the operation.
 
Turkey Habitat Award
Coal-Mac, Inc.
Holden 22 Surface Mine
S-5003-95
For the outstanding reclamation and remediation of a surface mining operation located in Logan and Mingo counties, West Virginia.  Coal-Mac, Inc. took ownership of the previously-disturbed site and worked diligently with the Department of Environmental Protection to bring the operation into compliance with environmental regulatory standards.  Additionally, Coal-Mac, Inc. reclamation techniques have created excellent wildlife habitat with an emphasis on promoting wild turkey populations.  The site has been the location of the Logan Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation annual turkey hunts.
 At the Board of Director’s meeting on Wednesday of the Symposium the following memberships were approved:  EnerNOC, a provider of energy management solutions, with Jerry Whitsitt as their contact; Gress Engineering, PC, a provider of consulting services of the mining industry, with Paul Maggard contact; J.P. Morgan, a lender and capital adviser, with contact Randall Atkins; Pennington Seed, Inc., a source of reclamation products and also do on-site consultation for reclamation projects, contact Dan Cosgrove; and, Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, heavy equipment sales to and for the industry, Eric White contact.  Welcome to all the new members.
 

What is the real cost of the agency’s delays of mining permits?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to hold up 20 coal mining permits along with dozens more across the region as part of their “Enhanced Review” process.

What does that mean for our coal miners and the state’s economy?

An analysis of the permits being delayed shows that the de facto moratorium on issuing permits is endangering approximately 1,800 jobs and almost 19 million tons of annual production – approximately 12 percent of the state’s total coal production.

In terms of long-term impacts, the total life-of-mine (permit) production put in limbo by the agency is approximately 132 million tons.
 
Givens to Chair Mining Permits Committee
Wheeling News-Register - February 10, 2010
Delegate Roy Givens will chair a new House committee charged with reviewing issues pertaining to coal mining permits in West Virginia.
The appointment of Givens, D-Brooke, was announced Tuesday by House Speaker Richard Thompson, D-Wayne.
The Select Committee on Coal Mining Permits was established in the House of Delegates last week through a unanimous vote. The move comes after West Virginia leaders recently spoke out because federal officials have stopped or delayed necessary mining permits for companies seeking to open new mines in the state.
According to Thompson, the committee will be charged with studying all issues relevant to the procedures of federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining, as well as the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
"For the past several months, I have been discussing my concern regarding the delays in the mine permitting process," Thompson said in a released statement. "This committee will work to monitor the status of pending mining permits, seek timetables for the issuance of permits and strive to better understand what issues need to be resolved to achieve consistency and uniformity throughout the permitting process."
In addition to Givens, other members of the committee are Delegates Sam Cann, D-Harrison; Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Greg Butcher, D-Logan; and John Shott, R-Mercer.
"A big part of our job will be to gather information, work with the involved agencies and facilitate a discussion among both regulatory officials and other affected parties," Givens said. "We'll be dealing with a very complex process. What we're seeking is some clarity."

MSHA will be conducting a Communications & Tracking Workshop on Wednesday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. at the Approval & Certification Center in Triadelphia, WV.  MSHA will present the latest communications and tracking technology developments and implementation issues to the underground coal mining industry.  Call Debbie Pawloski at 304-547-2012 or e-mail: pawloski.debra@dol.gov

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