Washington, D.C. – Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Acting Director Mike Pool today announced the winners of the 2012 BLM Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards. The awards recognize the efforts made in implementing the principles of sustainable development, a concept adopted by the United States and 192 other countries, to balance environmental, economic, and social concerns in planning for mining operations.
The BLM is presenting three awards for this year’s program. The 2012 BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award winners are Barrick Golden Sunlight Mine of Whitehall, MT, and Taiga Mining Company of Anchorage, AK. The winner of the 2012 BLM Community Outreach and Economic Security Award is Newmont Mining Corporation – Community Investment and Sustainability Programs, of Elko NV.
“This year’s award recipients are outstanding examples of leadership and environmental responsibility in the hardrock mining industry,” said Marcilynn Burke, Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior. “These mineral resources are critical to America’s infrastructure and vital to the economic wellbeing of many communities,” she continued. Burke presented the awards at a joint BLM and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement awards luncheon hosted by the National Mining Association in Las Vegas, NV.
“These awards are all about development that meets the non-fuel mineral needs of the present generation, without compromising the needs of future generations,” Acting Director Pool said. “All of this year’s winners illustrate the BLM’s concept of sustainable development,” he added.
First presented in 2003, the BLM Sustainable Mineral Development awards are similar to the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining annual awards for excellence in coal mining reclamation. The BLM’s hardrock mining awards enable the Department of Interior to showcase some of the finest examples of responsible mineral development by the industrial- and metallic-minerals industry, as well as sand-and-gravel operators. The possible awards fall into the following five categories, which are designed to recognize work in any of the three components of sustainable development: environmental health, social responsibility, and economic security.
- The BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award highlights the component of sustainable development that relates to environmental stewardship. The award acknowledges operators with exceptional track records of meeting or exceeding Federal, State, or local reclamation requirements.
- The BLM Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award highlights the component of sustainable development that relates to concern shown for community responsibilities and the economic benefits of mineral development, with an emphasis on successful coordination with local and regional stakeholders.
- The BLM Small Operator Award recognizes achievements in environmental stewardship of operators with less than 15 employees. Like the BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award, this award recognizes operators who have demonstrated continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed Federal, State or local reclamation requirements.
- The BLM Hardrock Mineral Director’s Award may be presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in a particular area of sustainable development.
- The “FAST!” Award recognizes active participation in the FAST! Campaign, which is a partnership initiative aimed at eradicating unsafe abandoned mine land features, especially open mine shafts.
Nominations for this year’s BLM hardrock mining awards were first screened by BLM State Office officials, who forwarded the applications to BLM Headquarters for final judging by a panel that included experts in mining activities from outside the BLM. Detailed information on the winners is attached.