OFFICE of SURFACE MINING
RECLAMATION and ENFORCEMENT

U.S. Department of the Interior

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2016 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award Winners

After construction of Pennsylvania project

After construction of Pennsylvania project.

OSMRE first recognized outstanding abandoned mine land reclamation and exemplary reclamation techniques in 1992, when it started the annual Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards Program. The program mirrors one of the objectives of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to ensure that land mined for coal would be restored to beneficial use as part of the mining process, and that lands abandoned without reclamation prior to the law would be reclaimed. OSMRE Director Joe Pizarchik will present the awards at the 38th annual National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs in Bozeman, Montana, September 25-28, 2016, during the AML Awards Banquet.


Read the OSMRE Media Advisory about the 2016 AML Awards.

2016 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards Presentation Video

The winners of the 2016 Abandoned Mine Reclamation Awards.

Show All
  • Appalachian Regional Award Winner: Mather,PA – Reclaiming a Company Town, Morgan Township, Green County, PA.

    • Before construction (2014)

      Before construction (2014).

      The judges selected the Mather, PA Reclaiming a Company Town project as the Appalachian Regional Award Winner for the reclamation of a refuse pile than can now support recreational options for Mather and Greene County residents. These options were previously unavailable - hiking trails, soccer and baseball fields, and plenty of space for picnic areas.

      The reclaimed landscape promotes a “small town” quality of life with a large multi-use park facility. The reclamation of the Mather refuse Dangerous Pile Embankment and Surface Fire is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished through the AML Program in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.



      Watch the video of the Appalachian Regional Winner Project

      During construction (2015)

      During construction (2015).

      After construction (2016)

      After construction (2016).

  • Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: Highway 15 Pit Subsidence Emergency Project, St. Clair, County, Illinois

    • Drilling and sampling for determination of rock/coal depths

      Drilling and sampling for determination of rock/coal depths.

      The judges choose the Highway 15 Pit Subsidence Emergency Project as the Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner for stabilizing the dangerous pit type subsidence. This type of subsidence include deep sided holes that form in the ground surface as the result of roof collapse within room and pillar mines.

      The Illinois Department of Transportation summoned the help of the Illinois Abandoned Mined Lands Division and today permanent site stabilization has been successfully achieved due to the combined efforts and corporation of these two agencies.



      Watch the video of the Mid-Continent Regional Winner Project

      Completed road stabilization project

      Completed road stabilization project.

      330 cubic yards of flowable fill placed to elevation of pavement subgrade

      330 cubic yards of flowable fill placed to elevation of pavement subgrade.

  • Western Regional Award Winner: Coyote Canyon Coal Fire Mitigation, Coyote Canyon, New Mexico

    •  Coyote Canyon Coal Fire Completed Reclamation

      Coyote Canyon Coal Fire Completed Reclamation.

      The judges choose the Coyote Canyon Coal Fire Mitigation Project as the Western Regional Award Winner for permanently extinguishing a coal seam fire that had been burning on the Navajo Nation, within the boundaries of the Coyote Canyon Chapter.

      The Navajo AML Program developed the technical specifications needed and demonstrated how to successfully address a coal mine fire on time and on budget.



      Watch the video of the Western Regional Winner Project


      Water and ChemGaurd mixture being applied to the coal seam (facing west)

      Water and ChemGaurd mixture being applied to the coal seam (facing west).

      Excavation of the top burning seam while the bottom seam is quenched with water and ChemGuard Extreme

      Excavation of the top burning seam while the bottom seam is quenched with water and ChemGuard Extreme.

  • Small Project Award Winner: Halleck Mine AML Project, Bowman, North Dakota

    • Emergency Sinkhole site meeting with Bowman and Trans Canada officials at the Halleck Mine in 2014

      Emergency Sinkhole site meeting with Bowman and Trans Canada officials at the Halleck Mine in 2014.

      The judges choose the Halleck Mine AML Project as the Small Project Award Winner for their innovative use of current technology. The geophysical survey confirmed the importance of the reclamation of the entry tunnel. Surveys of drill holes combined with ArcGIS and aerial imagery increased the accuracy of the mine maps reducing the number of drill holes needed. A borehole camera provided detailed information on mine conditions to help develop a cost effective solution.

      The low-tech method of varying grout slump to create either stiff barrier walls or flowable fill reduced the overall project costs and creatively solving this complex problem and safeguarding the public.



      Watch the video of the Small Project Winner Project

      Construction Inspector pointing out the blow out in the south ditch of the east-west road

      Construction Inspector pointing out the blow out in the south ditch of the east-west road.

      Borehole camera image showing failing timbers and partial collapse of the entry tunnel on the south side of the east-west road

      Borehole camera image showing failing timbers and partial collapse of the entry tunnel on the south side of the east-west road.

  • National Award Winner: Sand Coulee Water System Restoration Project, Great Falls, Montana

    • Sludge in existing water tank

      Sludge in existing water tank.

      The judges selected the Sand Coulee Water System Restoration Project as the National Award Winner for overcoming multiple obstacles and successfully restoring safe and abundant water to the Sand Coulee community.

      Directional drilling was used to install water mains under a county road and under Sand Coulee Creek to minimize disturbance and significantly improved the infrastructure for decades to come.



      Watch the video of the National Winner Project

      New well drilled for Sand Coulee

      New well drilled for Sand Coulee.

      New water storage tank for the town of Sand Coulee

      New water storage tank for the town of Sand Coulee.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/24/17

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