Viking snags state mining award

THE Indiana Department of Natural Resources has commended the reclamation efforts of Peabody Energy’s Viking mine with its annual Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award for 2008.

Donna Schmidt

Peabody has reclaimed about 850 acres of forest and farming land in Daviess County, increasing the number of hardwood forest species in the region while reclaiming streams and farmland to a greater depth and quality.

“In reclaiming high-quality woodland and wildlife habitat, Viking helped to reverse the decline of oak species in the Midwest,” said Peabody officials, noting the project was done in collaboration with community leaders.

“The company planted 200,000 trees on nearly 300 acres at its Corning area from 2004 to 2008, and oak seedlings accounted for more than 50 per cent of those trees. Peabody also established enhanced stream corridors for wildlife migration and habitat.”

Company executive vice-president Eric Ford said the award to the 134-employee Viking mine recognised the workers’ commitment to returning mined lands to the same or better condition than before.

The mine produced about 1.6 million tons of output last year.

Earlier this year, Viking picked up Peabody’s internal President Award for safety. As of the first quarter of 2008, the mine had zero incidents for the past four years, with 1.7Mt of coal mined in 2007.

Peabody’s 120-person Francisco underground mine in Indiana was also recognised for halving its incident rate for three years in a row.

Francisco’s rate this year was 1.09 incidents per 200,000 hours worked, while the US national average was 2.11 for 2007.