CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently awarded the 2022 Excellence in Mining Reclamation Award for non-coal to Halliburton Bentonite Performance Minerals (BPM) for the voluntary reclamation of an abandoned mine site adjacent to the Colony 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.
Jennifer Hartman, environmental specialist from BPM, said, “It’s an honor to receive a 2022 Reclamation Award from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. At Halliburton BPM, we strive to be good stewards of the land and wildlife, and our reclamation work to create functional grazing land for local landowners is a rewarding part of what we do here.”
BPM voluntarily conducted reclamation work at the pre-law Miller Read 20 site. “Pre-law” means the site was disturbed before the Open Cut Land Reclamation Act of 1969 required mine operators to backfill open mine sites.
The Miller Read 20 site was left un-reclaimed for several decades. Livestock grazing and wildlife uses at the site were limited because the site didn’t have topsoil for natural reseeding and because of erosion caused by the lack of ground cover.
BPM’s permitted bentonite mining and reclamation operations are adjacent to the Miller Read 20 site. The mine permit area encompasses 19,926 acres and is located in Crook County in northeastern Wyoming.
BPM began reclamation work on the Miller Read 20 site in 2010 after the company advanced its mining pits and subsequently reclaimed them along the west side of the pre-law area.
BPM contoured and placed topsoil on the former highwall and surrounding area. Topsoil often was not salvaged at pre-law mining sites, making reclamation difficult. BPM used additional soil resources and suitable overburden material from the Colony Mine to accomplish the reclamation at the Miller Read 20 site.
BPM first began seeding the site in 2013 and seeded the final portion in 2021. The company used a native seed mix along with a rye cover crop. The rye crop helps stabilize the soil and capture moisture, enhancing survival of the native species.
Matt Kunze, DEQ natural resources program supervisor, said, “BPM is commended for conducting this pre-law reclamation voluntarily as the mine performed reclamation on adjacent mined areas. The end result is that both the current mine and pre-law areas have been reclaimed together to restore them to be functional for livestock grazing and wildlife habitat.”