Blackhawk’s mining operations are focused on minimizing any lasting impact to the environment. We employ a team of environmental professionals to oversee and prevent environmental issues before they arise, and each mining facility employs an environmental engineer responsible for reviewing and coordinating water monitoring, sediment control and permit compliance with regulatory authorities. Quarterly environmental meetings are conducted with management and field engineers for all Blackhawk locations to ensure transparency.
We are committed to continuing to improve our environmental profile, including our carbon footprint. One of the ways we are doing this is by further investing in our metallurgical coal production capabilities while continuing to meet our customers’ demand for thermal coal. In 2022, metallurgical coal accounted for more than 70% of Blackhawk’s total coal production, and we expect to at least maintain, and perhaps increase, that percentage over the next several years.
Due to our proactive approach to environmental compliance, Blackhawk has seen substantial declines in the number of exceedances and Notices of Violation over the last five years.
Our goal is to create a new multifunctional landscape that benefits the future needs of the region once our operations are complete. Since 2017, our land reclamation work has resulted in the release of approximately $88 million in bonds (including $18 million in 2021), which we believe to be the most of any mining operation in the eastern U.S. Our reclamation work is predicated on rigorous environmental testing, planting vegetation, clean water sources, and sloping and grading land to make it a safe, vibrant and usable space for the community. We are proud to be recognized as a reliable steward of the land and have received multiple awards for our diligence in reclamation.