For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2016
Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov
| Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Tarah Kesterson, 276-356-3405, Tarah.Kesterson@dmme.virginia.gov
Virginia Wins Majority of Interstate Mining Compact Commission Awards
~Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Awarded For Coal Miner Safety and Training~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today Virginia was recognized for exemplary safety, training and reclamation by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC). Coal companies in the Commonwealth, as well as the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) won four of the seven national awards. The awards will be presented at the IMCC’s annual meeting in Lake Placid, New York April 17-20. Governor McAuliffe serves as Chairman of the IMCC, which is made up of 25 states that have a mining industry.
“Virginia has been committed to ensuring that miners are properly trained and that safety is a priority,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These awards show that this culture is engrained in both our regulatory structure and in the private sector. We will continue to work with private businesses, both large and small, to maintain a safe working environment for our miners.”
This is the first year the IMCC has given awards to recognize excellence in mine safety and health training programs and materials.
DMME received two awards for surface and underground training provided to coal miners. The Small Mine Safety Service, approved by the General Assembly in 1995, was included in the recognition for meeting the needs of smaller coal mines that do not have access to training and professional technical assistance.
“Congratulations to Virginia’s coal companies and DMME for their consistent commitment to excellence and results,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “These awards are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the talent in the companies and the agency. We look forward to continued great performance.”
Extra Energy Inc. Virginia Point Surface Mine in Tazewell County was also recognized for mine safety and health training. The company’s training program, called SMART (Safe Miners Acting Responsibly Together), is an interactive and comprehensive program that contributes to its exceptional safety records of over six years without a lost time accident.
In addition, Paramont’s Hawks Nest Surface Mine in Buchanan County received the award for exemplary reclamation. The coal surface mine was reclaimed to include a roadbed for the future Coalfields Expressway, a local park, a new subdivision, a habitat for elk and much more.