Consol's reclamation recognition

THE VIRGINIA Mining Association and state Division of Mined Land Reclamation have given their annual best completed deep mine award to Consol Energy for reclamation at the Vandyke mine in Virginia.

Donna Schmidt

The Tazewell County complex was recognized during the groups’ 42nd annual meeting and awards event.

The 51-acre Vandyke minesite near Bandy includes 31 undisturbed acres and 20 acres of reclaimed land in the sensitive Indian Creek watershed.

Consol said the creek was home to the endangered riffleshell mussel and its mining and reclamation operations at the property followed an approved permit to prevent adverse impacts to the stream’s water quality.

“We consider being a good steward of the environment as one of the most important obligations we have,” environmental strategy and regulatory affairs senior vice president Katharine Fredriksen said.

“This particular project allowed us to positively illustrate how mining and the subsequent reclamation can be conducted in a sensitive watershed, without harm to an endangered species and with an eye toward the successful return of the area to unmanaged forestland.”

Consol acquired the mine in 2000 and concluded coal removal in November 2006.

During operations crews mined from the Pocahontas no 10 seam using a first cut continuous mining method.

Site reclamation began in 2007 as the mine’s portals were sealed and all of the coal handling infrastructure was dismantled and recycled.

A regrading plan was subsequently put into place to eliminate the highwall face-up area of the minesite.

The land was returned to unmanaged forestland and native vegetation and trees were planted.

To be eligible for the Virginia state award, a site must be recommended by an inspector with the Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy.

Tom Mackey was the nominating Department of Mined Land Reclamation inspector for the Consol award.

Central Appalachia closed operations supervisor Randy Cox accepted the award on behalf of the producer.

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