Mine Remediation Wins Honor

New Mexico – Efforts to clean up football field-sized coal pits and other signs of 16 years of mining at the now-closed La Plata Mine outside Farmington are earning high praise from the U.S. Department of Interior.

Mine owner BHP Billiton has removed 1,700 acres of coal pits and re-created rolling hills and valleys covered with native vegetation.

The remediation effort has now won a national excellence award from the federal Office of Surface Mining, which says the project went beyond industry standards. Surface Mining Acting Director Glenda Owens says in a letter to BHP Billiton that the company's efforts are a model for other closed mines.

The La Plata Mine shut down in 2002 after 42 million tons of coal was removed for use at the San Juan Generating Station.


Information from: The Daily Times,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.