Arch Coal's West Elk Mine Earns Three Colorado Awards for Safety Record, Pollution Prevention and Hawk's Nest Road Project
"Congratulations to everyone at West Elk for earning three statewide honors," said John W. Eaves, president and chief operating officer of Arch Coal, Inc. "This external recognition reinforces our recent selection of West Elk as the top internal environmental performer among all underground mines in Arch's national network, and also underscores the employees' strong commitment to safety."
The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety recognized West Elk mine with the 2009 Excellence in Safety Award for achieving the lowest total recordable incident rate among large underground coal mines in Colorado. West Elk's rate of 1.61 MSHA recordable injuries per 200,000 employee-hours was one-third the national underground average of 4.40, according to MSHA's most recent data ending Sept. 30, 2009.
West Elk also was recognized by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety for the proactive reclamation of a steep, unstable U.S. Forest Service Road, replacing it with a new, realigned gravel road. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Colorado Mining Association, presented West Elk with Colorado's Pollution Prevention Award for its proactive methods of reducing wastes. West Elk encourages its employees to suggest more efficient ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle materials and has upgraded its office, shop and other buildings to more energy efficient lighting.
According to the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, reclamation of the abandoned portion of the road included the innovative use of on-site materials. These additional measures included the use of large boulders to block vehicular access and blend with surrounding lands as well as the use of fallen Aspen trees for erosion control and access restriction. In addition, Mountain Coal modified the alignment of the new road in order to avoid an active hawk's nest that was identified after the start of construction.
Mountain Coal Company is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, Inc. Mountain Coal Company's West Elk mine is located in Somerset, Colo. More than 350 people are employed at West Elk. West Elk has operated for more than 10 years without a Colorado SMCRA violation.
St. Louis-based Arch Coal is the nation's second largest coal producer. The company's core business is providing U.S. power generators with cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal for electric generation. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 8 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. Arch's companywide 2009 safety and environmental records were the best in its history. An extensive list of environmental and safety awards is available at www.archcoal.com/aboutus/awards.aspx.