NTEC, Bisti Fuels receive state award for reclamation work at Navajo Mine

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — The Navajo Transitional Energy Company and Bisti Fuels Company have been recognized by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department for reclamation work at Navajo Mine.

The department's Mining and Minerals Division announced on Aug. 30 that the two companies won a 2021 Excellence in Reclamation award for their holistic reclamation project at the coal mine located south of Fruitland.

The department noted that NTEC and Bisti Fuels' approach to recovering the watershed at the area uses principles that mimic the natural erosion process.

The reclaimed Chinde riparian wetlands are pictured on Aug. 1, 2019 at Navajo Mine near Fruitland.

"Reclaiming the entire watershed allows the pre-mine drainages to be reestablished and allows the land to be returned to self-sustaining grazing land," the department press release states.

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NTEC, which owns Navajo Mine, and Bisti Fuels, the mine operator, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline on Aug. 30.

A crewmember checks irrigation lines on Aug. 1, 2019 in an area that was reclaimed at Navajo Mine. Navajo Transitional Energy Company and Bisti Fuels Company were recognized on Aug. 30 for using a holistic approach for reclaim land at the mine near Fruitland.

The award recognizes excellence and innovation in coal, hard rock and aggregate mine reclamation and abandoned mine land reclamation projects, according to the department.

This is the second time that NTEC and Bisti Fuels have received the honor.

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In 2019, they were named because of their work to build interest in mining, reclamation and careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students and community members.

The Four Corners Power Plant is visible on Aug. 1, 2019 from an area that was seeded as part of reclamation work at Navajo Mine near Fruitland.

The other award recipient this year was Peabody Natural Resources Company in recognition of its reclamation at El Segundo Mine in McKinley County.

"The awards this year recognize monumental reclamation projects in New Mexico's coal country. We applaud the work done by Peabody Natural Resources Company at El Segundo Mine and Navajo Transitional Energy Company and Bisti Fuels Company for their innovative projects bringing lands impacted by mining back to beneficial use and using new technologies to complete the reclamation work," department secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said in the release.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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