Colowyo, New Horizon mines garner awards

The employees of Western Fuels-Colorado (WFC), a 99 percent-owned subsidiary of Tri-State, have plenty to be proud of as recipients of several safety and environmental milestone awards for their operations at the New Horizon Mine near Nucla and the Colowyo Mine north of Meeker.

Both Colowyo (shown) and New Horizon mines received awards for safety and environmental stewardship recently by the Colorado Mining Association.

The awards, presented by the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) last week (March 20-22) at the 114th National Western Mining Conference in Denver, recognized both New Horizon and Colowyo mines for incurring no lost time incidents in 2011. For those distinctions and other safety efforts, the Colowyo Mine was the recipient of CMA’s Safest Surface Coal Mine Award and the New Horizon Mine was lauded for garnering CMA’s Excellence in Safety Award. In addition, both mines received CMA’s Environmental Stewardship Pollution Prevention Program Award for 2011.

The Colowyo Mine was purchased in December 2011 by WFC from Rio Tinto Group. It is the state’s largest surface coal mine, employing a workforce of 249. All the coal produced at this mine – 2.3 million tons a year – is transported by rail to Craig Station. The 1,311-megawatt Tri-State-operated power plant also burns coal mined from the nearby Trapper Mine.

The New Horizon Mine, which is the exclusive fuel supplier to Tri-State’s 100-megawatt Nucla Station, employs 28 WFC personnel. Developed and opened in 1993, this surface coal mine uses dozers, trucks and shovels to extract approximately 400,000 tons of coal a year for the nearby plant. The mined coal is then transported over the road to the plant (about 9 miles) using haul trucks.

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