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Alabama Mining Association announces inaugural Safety & Sustainability Awards

The Alabama Mining Association (AMA) on Monday announced the winners of the organization’s inaugural Safety & Sustainability Awards.

AMA held its annual awards presentation on November 16 at The Club in Birmingham. The winners were graded and announced by a panel of what the association referred to as high-profile and independent judges.

Judges for the AMA Safety & Sustainability Awards were as follows:

  • Samuel Pierce, Mine Safety and Health Administration (retired) eastern district manager
  • Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary
  • Kathy H. Love, Alabama Surface Mining Commission Director
  • Lance LeFleur, Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director
  • Chris Blankenship, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner
  • Tim Gothard, Alabama Wildlife Federation Executive Director

The Alabama-mined marble awards were hand carved by famed sculptor Craigger Browne, a Yellowhammer State native.

According to AMA, the association’s goal with the awards was to highlight the mining industry’s safety and sustainability initiatives and publicly recognize companies and professionals that made such efforts possible.

Award winners were as follows:

Champion of Safety Award

  • James Christian, 43 years without a lost time accident
  • James Lay, 43 years without a lost time accident
  • Billy Millwood, 42 years without a lost time accident
  • Randy Sellers, 29 years without a lost time accident
  • Richard Dodd, 28 years without a lost time accident
  • Billy Dorrough, 28 years without a lost time accident
  • Randall Jenkins, 25 years without a lost time accident

Exceptional Reclamation Award

  • Drummond Company: Development of Wetlands and Endangered Turtle Habitat on pre-law mined land

Exceptional Safety & Training Initiative Award

  • Bevill State Community College: Longwall Mining Training Center

Land Stewardship Award

  • Warrior Met Coal: Mine #4 Wetland Conversion Project

Lifetime Commitment to Stewardship Award

  • Dwight Hicks, (retired) director of reclamation & environmental compliance at Drummond Company

Lifetime Dedication to Safety & Training Award

  • Jeffery Minor, safety & compliance engineer at Nelson Brothers

Mitigation Excellence Award

  • Southland Resources: Mud Creek Mitigation Bank for Swann’s Crossing Mine

Outstanding Safety & Training Leadership Award

  • Edward Boylen, vice president of safety at Warrior Met Coal

Water Quality Stewardship Award

  • McWane: Excellent compliance with Alabama’s water quality standards

Wildlife Conservation Award

  • Drummond Company: Wild Quail Restoration Project in Walker County

President’s Community Safety Award

  • Argos Roberta Cement Plant: Argos Emergency Response Training Partnership with the Calera Fire Department

President’s Commitment to Community Award

  • Vulcan Materials Company: Annual Quarry Crusher Run at the Dolcito Quarry in Tarrant

AMA president Patrick Cagle outlined the association’s efforts to recognize those who had worked to implement safety and sustainability practices in their respected capacities.

“These awards rightfully recognize the excellence of Alabama mining professionals, who work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of their colleagues and the communities in which they operate,” proclaimed Cagle.

He added, “Alabama’s modern mining industry places the health and safety of our people and local communities first, and this new award series highlights individuals and companies who go above-and-beyond to reflect the core values of sustainable, 21st century mining. On behalf of AMA, I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners. We are already looking forward to honoring a new class of projects and people in 2022.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL