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The Mine Health & Safety Recognition Awards recognize health and safety achievements made by people and companies in Colorado’s mining industry. Awards are based on the nominee’s specific contribution to mine health and mine safety.


Nominations for these awards are now closed.



Sponsored by the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB) and the Colorado Mining Association, these awards honor outstanding reclamation of mines that are permitted under the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act and outstanding environmental protection measures. The awards program seeks to further the collection and dissemination of information about successful reclamation techniques.


Nominations for these awards are now closed.


2016 Award Winners

Reclamation Top Honors

  • Trapper Mining Inc. 
  • Mountain Coal Company 
  • LLC, Oakridge Energy, Inc. 
  • Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc., permitting staff, responsible for the Colowyo, New Horizon and New Horizon North Mines
  • Oxbow Mining, LLC

Trapper, Mountain Coal, and Oakridge achieved principal recognition this year for the timely completion of reclamation and bond release totaling nearly 1,000 acres of mined lands throughout the state.


Outstanding Safety Performance Top Honors

Surface Mines

Elk Ridge Mining & Reclamation, LLC
Colowyo Coal Company L. P.’s Colowyo Mine 
Trapper Mining Inc. Trapper Mine

Underground Mines

GCC Energy King II Mine
Mountain Coal Company, LLC West Elk Mine
Bowie Resources #2 Mine


Individuals Cap a Career in Mine Safety Achievement

CMA and the state also honored four employees of Climax Molybdenum Company’s Climax Mine for working more than 30 years without a lost-time injury:  Keith Letourneau, Terry Reader, Patrick Sanders and Lilburn (Charles) Maxey. Colowyo Coal Company’s Senior Health & Safety Representative Mike Gush received recognition for working over the same period with no lost time injuries.

Safety Innovation a Key to Safety Performance

Three Colowyo mine employees also gained recognition for developing innovative safety solutions.

  • Tim Miles designed water safety improvements that reduced dust and safety concerns for both mine employees and drivers.
  • Brad Campbell developed a system to better secure the cable on the dragline shovel stinger (a dragline is a large piece of mining equipment used to remove dirt or overburden to facilitate coal extraction), reducing the time needed to work at heights. Draglines are several stories high.
  • Linda Cearly achieved recognition for developing a proposal for a 3 point harness seat belt system used in Colowyo’s 240 ton haul trucks, replacing the old lap belts used in “buddy seats” where new employees would sit while learning from experienced operators.  


These awards were developed under a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s (CDPHE) Pollution Prevention Program as part of CMA’s code of Pollution Prevention and Best Management Practices (BMP’s) for the mining industry in Colorado.  In 2003, CMA earned a “Friend of EPA award” which praised CMA as “the program directly supports and assists EPA in performing its mission to protect public health and the environment.”

Senior participants submit detailed information demonstrating compliance with all program requirements, such as container and chemical management, recycling, reclamation, energy efficiency, and other protocols and BMP’s. Companies earn special recognition for developing programs that serve as a model for incorporation by local communities or adoption by other mine operators. 


Download an application


2016 Award Winners

“Best of the Best” Award Winners

  • Blue Mountain Energy, Inc.’s Deserado Mine took “Best of Best” honors for the development and operation of an innovative water recirculation system that reduces water use in coal washing. The mine is also an important partner in the successful reintroduction of the Black Footed Ferret, which is among the most endangered mammals in North America. 
  • Newmont – Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine’s Cresson Project again took the top award for its leadership in recycling and repurposing materials on site.  Its work with the Young Environmental Stewards (YES) program to establish small mammal and bird habitat values on reclaimed land was noteworthy. 

Special Recognition

Coal Mine Winners

  • Elk Ridge Mining & Reclamation – New Horizon and New Horizon North Mines
  • Colowyo Coal Company L.P. – Colowyo Mine
  • Trapper Mining Inc. – Trapper Mine
  • Mountain Coal Company, LLC – West Elk Mine

Metal Mine Winners

  • AngloGold Ashanti North America Inc. – Administrative Office
  • Climax Molybdenum Company – Climax and Henderson Operations


The award is presented by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Mined Land Reclamation Board to honor outstanding individuals, companies or organizations for their significant contributions to the reclamation of mined lands in Colorado. 

The award honors the memory of Dr. James A. Pendleton, principal scientist with the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. As an engineering geologist, mentor and trainer, Jim provided valuable guidance to the programs in geotechnical engineering, mountain scar reclamation, mine subsidence and resolution of issues at controversial mining operations. 


2016 Award Winner

Michael Savage of Savage and Savage








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