DEQ awards annual coal reclamation award to Antelope Coal

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently awarded the 2021 Excellence in Mining Reclamation Award for coal to Antelope Coal LLC for their exceptional reconstruction of Spring Creek near the Antelope Mine.

DEQ presents the Excellence in Mining Reclamation Awards to Wyoming coal and noncoal mine operators who demonstrate an achievement in a specific aspect of mine reclamation or for overall performance in meeting reclamation goals.

Of Antelope Coal’s efforts, Matt Kunze, DEQ natural resources program manager, said, “This is a very good example of a mine reclamation project that was carefully planned and accomplished on the ground.”

The Antelope Mine encompasses more than 22,500 acres in the Powder River Basin north of Douglas. The Spring Creek is a seasonal tributary of Antelope Creek.

Antelope Coal redirected Spring Creek around the mine for several years to allow for the mining of coal in the area. But before the company did so, employees conducted extensive studies of the creek and used the data collected at that time to inform the later reconstruction of Spring Creek.

A statement from Antelope Coal said, “The project demonstrates the successful reclamation of a native ecosystem while protecting downstream water quality and quantity and providing benefit to the area’s wildlife, as well as nearby recreational and agricultural users.”

To complete the project, Antelope Mine Team reconstructed more than 18,000 linear feet of Spring Creek in 2013 and 2015, which reconnected the two creeks.

Kunze said, “The reclaimed stream will provide many important functions and habitat for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species in this part of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.”

Antelope Coal’s statement explained that the reconstruction of the creek through its original path restored the aquatic and vegetation function of the stream and re-established the presence of many species of wildlife, including birds, reptiles and mammals.###

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