Halleck Mine reclamation project honored with OSMRE award

Published on July 25, 2016 by Alyssa Michaud

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has recently awarded its annual Small Project Award to the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Program in recognition of its outstanding efforts on the Halleck Mine project in 2015.

The Small Project Award recognizes the quality of projects undertaken across the country that work toward the reclamation of abandoned coal mines. At the Halleck Mine site, drilling and grouting efforts in 2015 sought to remedy a recurring sinkhole problem that had long plagued the area, including a 2014 emergency that saw a fiber optic cable severed by several large sinkholes. Laborers worked to fill underground mine voids in high-risk areas, taking precautions in order to avoid damaging a high-pressure natural gas pipeline nearby that was also at risk.

“Because of the reclamation fee being paid by current mine operations, the PSC is able to repair some of these sites that were abandoned decades ago,” North Dakota PSC Commissioner Randy Christmann, who holds the coal mining, reclamation and AML portfolios, said. “It allows us to protect our infrastructure and our citizens without using taxpayer dollars. This was a particularly challenging project and our team did a great job.”

The Small Project Award will be presented at the National Association of Abandoned Mine Lands Programs meeting in Bozeman, Montana, later this fall.