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Excellence in Reclamation Award

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2024 Excellence in Reclamation Open Letter

Please send your nominations to:
Stephanie Rodriguez
EMNRD – Mining and Minerals Division
1220 South St. Francis Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505

Electronic submissions may be sent to

The Excellence in Reclamation Award was initiated in 1996 to recognize excellence in coal, hard rock, aggregate, and abandoned mine land reclamation projects, and other industry-related initiatives worthy of recognition. EMNRD-MMD presents the awards at the annual New Mexico Mining Association Convention.

Examples of appropriate nomination topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Advancing reclamation science through studies at the mine site, using the scientific method.
  2. Applying state-of-the-art, innovative reclamation techniques which mitigate mining-related impacts to people and/or the environment (surface water, ground water, livestock, wildlife habitat, plants, soils, or cultural resources).
  3. Developing state-of-the art, innovative post-mine land use applications to reclaimed portions of the mine site.
  4. Voluntary reclamation of a mine by an operator that is not required by any regulatory program.
  5. Increasing public awareness of mining issues through open public processes (e.g., stakeholder meetings, voluntary public meetings, publications, etc.).

Selection Criteria:

  1. Eligible nominees include any entity involved in the reclamation of a mine site or portion of a mine site in New Mexico, or other deserving efforts or initiatives.
  2. Non-eligible nominees include those currently in violation of any state or federal environmental laws.
  3. Nominations can be for a site that is either an active or inactive mining operation in the state, regardless of whether they are under MMD’s jurisdiction.
  4. Nominations can include reclamation or safeguarding on abandoned mine land.
  5. Nominations for awards may be made by any interested person, group, or company including: consulting groups, environmental groups, the owner or operator of the mine, government agencies, or the contractor performing the reclamation.

Each nomination should include the following:

  1. The party making the nomination (include address and phone number).
  2. The party responsible for the reclamation, safeguarding or permitting process innovation (include address and phone number).
  3. Location of the site (must be in New Mexico).
  4. Nominations should characterize the degree of effort and level of innovation related to the reclamation or safeguarding project and why it is worthy of recognition.
  5. Electronic images or photographs of reclamation/safeguarding also should be provided and may be used in a presentation the day of the awards.


Past award winners and projects are listed below.


2023 Press Release Project Information, Videos: Yazzie Wildlife Bluff Pre-Reclamation; Yazzie Wildlife Bluff Reclaimed; Monument Channel 
  Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC For their project “The Yazzie Wildlife Bluff” that demonstrates commitment to ensuring the land, water, air, and wildlife are restored to a balance state using innovative reclamation.
  Chevron Mining Incorporated, Trihydro Corporation, and KC&MC Services LLC For their project: “The Monument Channel with Pharoah Steps” that demonstrates the success of mine reclamation when industry and agencies work creatively together.
2022 Press Release Project Information, Videos: Chinde Pond; Badlands with Wetlands
  Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC “Chinde Wash Wetland and Riparian Mitigation” project further demonstrates NTEC’s commitment to offset mining impacts through responsible actions and practices to restore land, water, and natural resources to a balanced state for future beneficial use. This project also received the 2022 OSMRE National Award for Coal Mine Reclamation in November.
2021 Press Release Project Information 
  Peabody Natural Resources Company For its reclamation work at El Segundo Mine implementing geomorphic principals into contemporaneous reclamation that improved material handling and reclamation outcomes.
  Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC,
and Bisti Fuels Company, LLC
For their project: “Navajo Mine – Restoring the Land, One Watershed at a Time” that holistically applies geomorphic principles and other innovative methods to return thousands of acres of Navajo Nation land to a self-sustaining post mine land grazing use
2020 Press Release Project Information 
Picuris Pueblo U.S. Hill Mine reclamation project to provide access to important spiritual sites and traditional sources of materials collected by Picuris pot makers for many generations
The Española Mercantile Company, and Matt Lane Erosion correction projects at Las Conchas and El Cajete pumice mines using adaptive and creative approaches in reclamation of particularly challenging sites
2019 Press Release Presentation
Navajo Transitional Energy Company, and North American Coal Corporation – Bisti Fuels Company Navajo Mine – Powering the Navajo Nation through Education: Dedication to cultivate interest in mining, reclamation, and STEM-related careers through education, outreach, and community service to help students and residents from the Navajo Nation and surrounding communities
Freeport McMoRan Chino Mines, Borderlands Restoration Network, Gila Watershed Partnership, Bat Conservation International Agave Roundup in Grant County: Salvaging more than 750 agave plants for use in mine reclamation areas and non-mining areas for the benefit of improved bat habitat and environmental awareness
2018 Miocene, LLC Small mine operation reclamation, Section 2 Mine
2017 Press Release Presentation
Rangeland Hands, Inc.
Riverbend Engineering, LLC
Madrid Low Impact Stormwater Project (this project also received the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s 2017 Western Region Award, presented at the National Association of Abandoned Mine Lands Programs’ annual conference – read the announcement)
2016 Press Release Presentation
  Oxbow Ecological Engineering, LLC, and Duran Bokich Enterprises, LLC Grants Uranium-Spencer Mine Safeguard and Reclamation Project
Awards presented for innovative landforming design, and for meeting high standards of construction excellence.
2015 Press Release Presentation
  Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District Office Abandoned mine safeguarding projects in the Cerrillos, Lemitar, and Florida mining districts; and significant field reconnaissance and data collection on abandoned mines in New Mexico
2014 Press Release Presentation
  Duran Bokich Enterprises, LLC and Peabody Natural Resources Company Bradley Group Mine Safeguard Project – Phase I
El Segundo Coal Mine Contemporaneous Reclamation
2013 Press Release Presentation
  Ames Construction, Inc. La Plata Transportation Corridor Project
  River Source, Inc. Education and Community Outreach – Swastika Mine
2012 Press Release Presentation
  Kiewit New Mexico Company
814 Solutions LLC
Water and Earth Technologies Inc.
Habitat Management Inc.

Swastika Mine and Dutchman Canyon Project


  Trihydro Corporation
Dillon Land Company
York Canyon Complex Reclamation Maintenance
  Freeport-McMoRan Tyrone Inc. Tyrone Tailing Dam Reclamation
2011 Larry M. Coons, P.E. Velarde Mill
  Runyan Construction Harding Pegmatite Mine
2010 INTERA Incorporated JJ No. 1 Mine
2009 St. Cloud Mining Company Yankee Mine Reclamation Project
  Rangeland Hands, Inc. Yankee Stream Maintenance
2008 Chevron Mining, Inc. McKinley Mine
  Cobre Mining Company Hanover Empire Zinc, Zinc Hill and Shaft/Adit Closures on Cobre Property
  St. Cloud Mining Company, Inc. Lake Valley Mine Safeguard Project Phase II
2007 San Juan Coal Company San Juan, La Plata and Black Diamond Mines
  Pueblo of Sandia ARP North Aggregate Mine
  Waycor Materials, Inc. ARP North Aggregate Mine
2006 GCC Rio Grande, Inc. Tijeras Mine and Mill
  Samcon, Inc. Sugarite Gob Reclamation – Phase V
2005 Molycorp, Inc. Questa Mine, Goat Hill North Rockpile Mitigation
  St. Cloud Mining Company Lake Valley Mine Safeguard Project Phase I
2004   No awards were presented. Presentations were made on the AML Cerrillos South project and the award-winning reclamation of the San Juan Coal Cottonwood Pit.
2003 Yampa Mining Company De-Na-Zin Mine
2002 St. Cloud Mining Company Orogrande Mine Safeguard Project
2001 San Juan Coal Company La Plata Mine
  Vulcan Materials Bernalillo and State Lands Project
2000 Phelps Dodge Mining Company Pinos Altos Mine
  Smith Construction Company Abandoned mines near Abermarle and Bland
  St. Cloud Mining Company San Pedro Mine
1999 St. Cloud Mining Company Carthage Abandoned Mine Project
  Salt River Project Fence Lake No. 1 Surface Coal Mine
1998 Carbon Coal Company Mentmore and Carbon II Mines
  Cyprus Amax Minerals El Molino Operations Unit, Terrero Mine
  LAC Minerals (USA) Inc. Cunningham Hill Mine
1997 Homestake Mining Company of California Grants Mill Site, Soil Removal Area
  San Juan Coal Company San Juan Mine
  The Lordsburg Mining Company Westar Leaching Facility
  Union Oil – Molycorp Questa Division Questa Mine and Tailings Facility
1996 Atlantic Richfield Company and
Homestake Mining Company of California
F-33 Underground Mine
  LAC Minerals (USA) Inc., and
Pegasus Gold Corporation
Cunningham Hill Mine
  Phelps Dodge Mining Company and ASARCO Incorporated Black Hawk Tailings Facility
  Pittsburg and Midway Coal Mine Company McKinley Mine