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TABLE OF CONTENTS Wyoming Mining: Working and Adapting Together | Executive Director, Travis Deti..........................................................4 About the WMA...........................................................................................5 1401 Airport Parkway, Ste. 230 | Cheyenne, WY 82001 Phone: 307-635-0331
Mark Your Calendars..............................................................................12
2020-21 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WMA President’s Message | Marc Ostrem..............................13
Marc Ostrem | President Wyodak Resources Todd Brichacek | Vice President Solvay Chemicals Tyler Tetrault | Secretary/Treasurer Bentonite Performance Minerals
From the Assistant Director’s Desk | Pat Joyce ........................................................................................................................10-11
Scott Durgin Peabody Bernard Bonifas Energy Fuels Wayne Heili Peninsula Energy Roger Hoops Tata Soda Ash Partners Russell Krall Buckskin Mining Company Dale Nuttall Wyo-Ben Shane Durgin Kemmerer Mine Crystal Volk SLS West Keith Williams Arch Resources Steve Williams NTEC
Travis Deti | Executive Director Pat Joyce | Assistant Director Heidi Peterson | Membership & Retention
Safety Remains Paramount..............................................................14 Peck Community Achievement Award..................................... 15 Safety Award Winners...................................................................16-17 Russ Beamer Scholarship..................................................................18 Connecting Wyoming Industries & Education | Nish Goicolea.............................................................................................19 Legislative Successes...................................................................20-21 WMA & The Workforce | Robert Hill....................................24-25 Mining Associates of Wyoming | Crystal Volk.............26-27 DEQ Reclamation Award................................................................... 28 Advertisers Index...................................................................................30
THE MINING CLAIM
Voice of the Wyoming Mining Association November 2020 © | Volume 46, No. 1 THE MINING CLAIM is published annually by the Wyoming Mining Association. Subscription price for one year is $5.00. All orders for subscriptions, changes of address and correspondence to the editor should be addressed to: THE MINING CLAIM, Wyoming Mining Association, 1401 Airport Parkway, Ste. 230, Cheyenne, WY 82001.
Pat Joyce............................................................Editor Moxie Marketing of the Midwest, LLC.........Layout/Design www.wyomingmining.org
We’ve Got All Your Marketing Needs COVERED! Print & Digital Graphic Design | Web Design & Hosting | Publication Design/Layout | Outsourced Marketing | Brand Consulting 605-568-0181 | firstname.lastname@example.org | MoxieMarketingMW.com The 2020 Mining Claim | 3
Working and Adapting Together
In a speech before his contemporaries in 1898, British Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain observed that, “I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety.” The same could be said today, over 120 years later. As of this writing, the United States and the world are in the grips of trying to address the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In America and Wyoming, this has meant the institution of the policy of “social distancing,” or isolation and quarantine of citizens to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus. This has caused significant negative impact to the economy as businesses and industry temporarily shut their doors and send workers home. Markets have crashed, and supply chains and life in general disrupted.
By Travis Deti WMA Executive Director
eration of mine workers. We will adapt together, and together we will overcome the difficulties of these interesting times. Mining remains critical and essential to American life. We continue to face ongoing and significant challenges, but along with these come great opportunities. Things will get better, and we will weather this storm. And we will continue to work together, adapt to change and meet these challenges head-on.
This pandemic mitigation comes on the heels of a year which saw unprecedented declines and bankruptcies in our coal industry, record low production in our uranium industry, tax pressure from state and local governments, the unrelenting if unwise movement for a shift from fossil fuels to less reliable sources for energy generations. Interesting times, indeed. It has been a challenging year for our industry, and there seems no end in sight. But if we look, we can find light even in the darkest of times. With the Blackjewell layoffs this past summer, we saw how industry came together to support those who found themselves so suddenly without work. The Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) spearheaded a virtual food drive for workers. Our members helped to raise over $10,000 to help provide for two mobile food pantry distributions in Gillette. Our drive paid for approximately 60,000 meals. We worked together and adapted. And we helped our fellow miners overcome a very difficult situation. We have proven we can surmount the difficulties of these anxious times. We will continue working together to face current challenges. Together, we will work with both state and federal officials for continued regulatory simplification and streamlining. We will continue to assist elected leaders as they work to provide relief and gain access to new markets for our industry sectors. We will continue working together to pursue the technology goals that will keep our mining sectors viable in the future. And we will continue to take a leadership role on education and training of the next gen 4 | The 2020 Mining Claim
WYOMING MINING ASSOCIATION
WMA promotes the mining industry by communicating with elected officials, regulators, educators, and the public in a credible way that encourages trust and confidence and earns respect as a reliable source of information on issues pertinent to the industry. We do this by:
WMA also influences legislative, regulatory, and education processes in a proactive and credible way so the interests of the mining industry are considered in important decisions impacting Wyoming. We do this by:
publicizing the environmental achievements and responsible processes used by the mining industry;
discussing environmental challenges faced by the mining industry; promoting the value of the mining industry to the state’s economy; creating awareness for the importance of mining products provided to the nation; building understanding of the economic value and high quality of life created by mining; and creating awareness of the challenges and issues facing the mining industry.
• • • •
PARTNERSHIPS WMA promotes the mining industry by partnering with regulators, educators, and the public to build collaborative and trusting relationships. We do this by: • • •
maintaining awareness and engagement in the ongoing legislative committee process to ensure decisions are made in the best interest of the State, its citizens, and the industry; promoting consistent, rational, and prudent rules and regulations that encourage environmentally responsible mining based on sound science; and providing accurate, timely information on mining issues to educational programs.
educating youth about the significance of the mining industry; building a healthy environment that co-exists with a healthy mining industry; and creating economic value and a high quality of life value in an environmentally responsible manner.
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FROM THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR’S
Never Missed A Shift
2020. Just when you thought maybe this year would be a bit forgiving and the biggest item you would have to track would be a new tax regulation from the Wyoming State Legislature’s Revenue committee, the next round of customer contracts or maybe hiring for another season of new recruits, WHAM!
By Pat Joyce WMA Assistant Director
Here comes a new, totally unknown, novel virus from across the world and sets all of our houses on fire. From the front security gate to the rail cars, mines in Wyoming were forced to prove they were essential businesses to remain open and operating. Fortunately, WMA was able to obtain that acknowledgment from Governor Mark Gordon early on during all the delibBut this new invasion didn’t cause one adjustment. It erations and confusion. We as an industry are grateful swooped in and adjusted our whole being. It affectfor the classification. ed not just our mines but the supply and service companies who support our mines. It permeated whole And the mines: Never missed a shift. communities including schools, city, county, state and federal governments, the healthcare facilities including Mines and mining associates were immediately physical and mental health aside from the virus deforced to implement new safety precautions to demands, transportation, tourism, supply chains of prodfend against a threat never experienced before while ucts and services for our communities, the economy, determining who in the federal and state government investments, market movements, employment and unto trust for advice. All the while dodging land mines employment, small businesses and entertainment on of new or “temporary” regulations, all designed and main street, churches and faith based communities, administered for “our safety” just to see the same rethe family unit and of course, why not, our elections. quirements all step sideways the next week. And then back again the next. Because this was a novel virus, AND WE ADJUSTED. In March when we were made nobody knew where to set the goal posts. aware of the yet unsure, but estimated impact this new novel virus could have on our whole nation, we as an Wyoming mines have also endured the downturn in industry in Wyoming gathered up and communicated customer demand, due to the slow down and some the vital updates on a daily basis. Everyone had a role, stoppage of manufacturing across the US and internafrom sourcing PPE to making sure all personnel were tional markets. That in turn translated to the slowdown tested before starting their shifts, while tracing their in the mines demand for local goods and services. As whereabouts if they were found to have a fever, and of this writing we have yet to acquire a full statistical to disseminating daily briefings from the Governor’s picture of the losses for 2020 but through our visits office to the mines. These were all new, never before with mine managers we know various levels of losses experienced, additions to the already demanding daily were incurred. WMA will track this information at the routine of running a world class mine in Wyoming. year-end. As the spring gave way to summer and we recogIt would be one thing to have lived through the last nized the likelihood that this new visitor wasn’t going 9 months knowing this novel virus had only affected away soon, we settled in to the new routine of wearsupply chains or contract fulfillments or even just how ing masks (some days required, some not), constantmany times a day we wash our hands. ly washing our hands, mentally estimating how far six 10 | The 2020 Mining Claim
DESK: feet is and all the while not sure if this was the cure all or not. The uncertainty of what was working kept us all aligned. We figured if the mask wearing would keep our colleagues and family from contracting this menace then by all means weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll wear the masks, meanwhile waiting on vaccine to be developed through more American ingenuity and determination. The federal Operation Warp Speed program that has cut the normal multi-year development time for new medicines from 5-10 years down to 9-10 months has most recently announced 4 and counting pharmaceutical companies who have successfully developed vaccine responses promising a 90-95% effectiveness rate. As of this writing it is expected that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;endâ&#x20AC;? to this threat will soon be approved by the FDA and on planes across America to defend our citizens. Not unlike the Wyoming mining industry, the USA stood up again in the face of adversity and met the threat head on. The Covid-19 virus has visited our shores. And Covid-19, you have met America and Wyoming. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stand down to threats. We square our shoulders, set out on a clear mission and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Never miss a shift.â&#x20AC;?
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MARK YOUR CALENDARS 2021 CONVENTION DATE: JUNE 2-4, 2021 Jackson, Wyoming
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WYOMING MINING ASSOCIATION
Wyoming Mining continues to provide value to the citizens of Wyoming. Mining in Wyoming is not without challenges. Including but not limited to market share dilution by competing commodities, competition from foreign products, the costs associated with environmental and social responsibility, a diminishing trained and engaged future work force and the current reality of diverse public opinion.
Folks from outside of our industry and our state don’t realize Wyoming’s outsized contribution to America’s economic engine. Whether it’s being the number one coal producer in the U.S., the producer of 90% of the country’s soda ash, the leading producer of the nation’s bentonite, or the country’s largest producer of uranium, Wyoming’s mining industry is a significant contributor to America’s economy. Wyoming has one of the richest rare earth’s mineral deposits in the world. Once we start mining it, we will reduce America’s dependence on China for these vital, critical minerals. The Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) strives to stay relevant. Active engagement in Wyoming issues is key. As well as fostering positive dialog among stakeholders with a priority focus on education and promoting safe and responsible mining. The WMA facilitates the collaborative efforts of the industry, provides guidance to local, county, and state leaders, actively partners with the business community and promotes resource and industry-related education in the public schools. Special thanks to Travis Deti and WMA Team. WMA member companies are actively involved in our communities, specifically in safety, education and scholarships. They provide innovative research into alternative options for products, lead the nation in safety accountability, and demonstrate some of the highest examples of reclamation in the world.
Mining provides all of us with a great lifestyle and the ability to enjoy this wonderful state of Wyoming. Mining is challenging, difficult work that has many hazards associated with it. An accident can change your life forever in a split second. The decisions we make help to keep us safe. Safety is a value, part of who you are, a belief that never wavers and never changes. It should be so ingrained in your being that it guides your every decision, whether you are at work, at home or out having fun. Safety By Marc Ostrem is a critical piece in every deci- WMA President sion you make. Never forget; the most important Black Hills Energy, thing to come out of a mine, is VP Mine Operations and Power Delivery the miner. As I sit here today composing this letter, I can not think of a more challenging year than 2020 as we all deal with this Pandemic of the Coronavirus. I believe our strength lies in working together for the good of our State and our Nation. Let’s all do our part to recover in 2020. Wishing all of you and our families good health and safety in these challenging times.
SAFETY MATTERS EVERYDAY The Wyodak Mine employees mined 4 million tons of coal in 2019, which was used to generate 720 MW of electricity to our local communities. This was all accomplished without a lost-time incident. Congratulations and thank you to the Wyodak Mine and Black Hills Energy Generation employees for their hard work and ceaseless dedication to safety and each other. www.wyomingmining.org
©2017 • 3016_17
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Safety Remains Paramount IN THE COVID-19 ENVIRONMENT BY TRAVIS DETI, WMA Executive Director
2020 has certainly been a year to remember, and the Wyoming mining industry has not been immune from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As industry continues to mitigate these challenges, we must always keep in mind that worker safety remains the top priority. Wyomingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s miners are critical and essential. As producers and providers of vital energy resources and supply-chain critical minerals, our industry works every day to keep our country going in these troubled and trying times. At the same time, mine operators have the responsibility of ensuring our miners are doing their jobs in the safest working environment possible. Safety has always been paramount for the Wyoming mining industry. In fact, statistics show the mining industry is safer than many other professions in our state. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wyoming boasts some of the safest mines in the nation. The majority of miners in Wyoming can expect to work their entire careers without a single lost-time accident. All Wyoming mining operations employ dedicated safety staff and are subject to rigorous, regular inspections from state and federal authorities. Our industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s safety commitment is also evident with regards to the current pandemic. Just as with other industries operating during this time, COVID-19 presented our essential mine operators with new and unprecedented challenges as they initiated precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus while maintaining a safe and productive work environment. Each mining operation and sector is a little different. What is similar is that they are all committed to implementing protocols that protect the health and safety of their workers. Wyoming producers took this charge very seriously and adapted to rapidly changing circumstances each day. In fact, our mining companies, in particular the trona industry, were at the forefront of recognizing the potential issues and acted immediately at the very beginning of the pandemic.
with each other, sharing ideas and best practices for workforce safety. Measures include, but are not limited to, visitor and vendor restrictions at the entrances of mine sites; temperature checks; staggered shifts and arrival times to prevent congregation and overcrowding; increased cleaning and sanitary procedures; and added protective equipment, including gloves and masks. Those companies that provide transportation for employees made adjustments, as well. Some of these included adding more busses to allow for greater dispersion of those traveling to and from work and increased sanitation on all busses. Some companies temporarily suspended bussing services, opting instead for personal transportation. All continue to encourage good personal hygiene according to state and federal guidelines. These include staying home if sick or not feeling well; washing hands frequently and thoroughly; covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing; and maintaining appropriate social distance from one another whenever possible. Our state and country are still going through a truly unprecedented time. But Wyomingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mines are up to the challenge. We will continue to produce energy and the raw materials that all Americans and indeed the world need and use every day. We will continue to produce in a responsible manner that protects our miners in the safest working environment possible. Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems. The reality falls somewhere in between. We are all in this together, and will get through it if we stay strong and stay safe. Because at the end of the day the most important thing to come out of our Wyoming mines are the miners themselves.
Working with guidelines from the Wyoming Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mining companies and vendors across the state swiftly implemented policies meant to keep employees safe and healthy, and to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. And to date they remain in ongoing communication 14 | The 2020 Mining Claim
HOWE WINS 2020 WMA
Peck Community Achievement Award
The Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) Peck Community Achievement Award recognizes outstanding voluntary community service by a Wyoming miner or an employee that provides services to the mining industry. This award annually commemorates the dedication of the Peck family to improving their state and community. It also recognizes the Peck family’s commitment to the responsible development of Wyoming’s mineral resources by the Wyoming mining industry. The recipient is chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of WMA’s Executive Director, a representative of the State Legislature, one member of the State Land Board, a local government representative, a member of the print journalism profession, a member of the broadcast journalism profession, and a member of the Peck family. The 2020 winner of the Peck Community Achievement Awards is Duston Howe of the Wyodak Mine. Duston was nominated by his colleagues for a variety of work and community related reasons. He consistently gives extra effort at work, maintaining a safe and clean work area, working effectively and positively with co-workers, always striving to improve efficiencies, and volunteering for those extra assignments and projects. Customer service and agility are top priorities for Duston at all times.
These natural behaviors are easily observed in Duston’s personal life as well. In the Gillette community, Duston has frequently volunteered for both the Powder River Playhouse and local sports groups. He has spent countless hours building sets and props for the Playhouse, which has translated into successful, entertaining performances for the young actors in this group. Duston has coached Gillette Junior Football and Touch of Gold Wrestling teams. Through coaching, he has had significant positive influence on many children in Gillette. Even though Duston was introduced to these activities through his own children, he has maintained dedication throughout the years. Duston is an admirable addition to the long list of past Peck Award recipients. He is an exemplary member of the crew at Wyodak and he has a strong passion to contribute to the youth of our community. For these ongoing contributions to improve his community and the lives of those around him, the Wyoming Mining Association is proud to present Duston Howe with the 2020 Wyoming Mining Association Peck Community Achievement Award.
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SURFACE MINE – LARGE CATEGORY
1st Place – Navajo Transitional Energy Company - Cordero Rojo Mine 2nd Place – Buckskin Mining Company - Buckskin Mine 3rd Place – Thunder Basin Coal Co., LLC - Black Thunder Mine
SURFACE MINE – SMALL CATEGORY
1st Place – Pacific Minerals - Bridger Coal Surface Mine 2nd Place – Eagle Specialty Materials - Belle Ayr Mine 3rd Place – Thunder Basin Coal Co., LLC – Coal Creek Mine
UNDERGROUND MINE – LARGE CATEGORY
1st Place – Genesis Alkali, LLC – Genesis Alkali @ Westvaco 2nd Place – Solvay Chemicals, Inc. – Solvay Chemicals Mine 3rd Place – Ciner Wyoming, LLC – Big Island Mine & Refinery
UNDERGROUND MINE – SMALL CATEGORY
1st Place – Bridger Coal Company - Bridger Coal Underground Mine
WMA SAFE SAM AWARD – Genesis Alkali
Congratulations! 16 | The 2020 Mining Claim
rd Winners MAW 2019
LARGE CATEGORY CONTRACTORS with greater than 75,000 hours reported in 2019. • 1st Place - Komatsu Mining Corp. (formerly Joy Global)
7 consecutive years without an LTA | 1,340,166 acm. hours
• 2nd Place – Interstate Power Systems
5 consecutive years without an LTA | 1,281,832 acm. hours
• 3rd Place – L&H Industrial
10 consecutive years without an LTA | 874,898 acm.hours
MEDIUM CATEGORY CONTRACTORS with 25,000 to 75,000 reported hours in 2019. • 1st Place - Big Horn Tire
8 consecutive years without an LTA | 533,118 acm. hours
• 2nd Place – SLS West
10 consecutive years without an LTA | 345,086 acm. hours
• 3rd Place – Arnold Machinery Company
3 consecutive years without an LTA | 60,332 acm.hours
SMALL CATEGORY CONTRACTORS with less than 25,000 reported hours in 2019. • 1st Place - FireMaster
8 consecutive years without an LTA | 202,235 acm. hours
• 2nd Place – Liebherr Mining Equipment
7 consecutive years without an LTA | 150,101 acm. hours
• 3rd Place – Epiroc USA, LLC
2 consecutive years without an LTA | 47,321 acm.hours
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WMA AWARDS 2020
Russ Beamer Scholarship
Each year, the Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) travels to the Wyoming State Science Fair on the campus of the University of Wyoming to observe and evaluate dozens of entries from around the state. Traditionally, WMA pays close closely to projects dealing with natural sciences and the environment, with an emphasis on those relating to mining, natural resource development and reclamation. However, in today’s environment we are also looking at those projects addressing the challenges of carbon capture and storage. Those students with the best entry are awarded the WMA Russ Beamer Scholarship for their work.
The winner of the 2019 WMA Russ Beamer Scholarship is Shelby Davis of Newcastle, Wyoming. Currently a Senior at Newcastle High School, Shelby won the scholarship for her continued work on carbon sequestration in concrete. This is the second year she has won the scholarship.
Shelby’s project recognized the critical need for carbon capture and sequestration to control carbon dioxide emission while also removing plastic material from the environment. Specifically, her project looked at how the addition of plastic aggregates to concrete affected CO2 absorption and the durability of the concrete. Her research found that The Russ Beamer Scholarship Fund was established in the by adding plastics to concrete, the material became more early 1980’s and is named after WMA’s first executive direc- flexible and absorbed more carbon dioxide. tor. The $500 prize is awarded to a Wyoming student each year at the State Science Fair for use at the University of The Wyoming mining industry can be proud of this year’s scholarship winner. Shelby’s project demonstrates a Wyoming or an institution of their choice. unique commitment to developing practical solutions to In some years, multiple scholarships have been awarded. real problems that may someday provide real benefits to The scholarship fund is strong and will be able to provide carbon capture efforts in Wyoming. She intends to continfinancial support for worthy students for many years to ue to pursue her research in college, and we wish her luck in her future endeavors! come.
Congratulations to Shelby Davis, this year’s WMA Russ Beamer Scholarship Winner!
18 | The 2020 Mining Claim
Connecting WYOMING INDUSTRIES & EDUCATION BY NISH GOICOLEA, Professional Teaching Standards Board
Currently, there is a disconnect in communication between our Wyoming industries and education. Many of our youth and schools are unaware of the occupational opportunities in our mines and other industries. There is also a nationwide teacher shortage that has finally arrived in Wyoming. We are in desperate need for Career and Technical Educators (CTE) in Wyoming high schools. We want people with industry experience to share their knowledge and skills with Wyoming youth and provide alternative perspectives. We also know that there are excellent jobs in our industries that we should be connecting to our Wyoming high school and college graduates to grow our own and keep our kids in our communities. These viewpoints from educators with industry experience are invaluable and we can do more together to build our Wyoming communities and industries when we work together. We are exploring opportunities to pilot collaborative partnerships between the mining operations and Wyoming high schools. The Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board, along with the Wyoming Mining Association, and the Wyoming Department of Education, has a few pathways to link industry to teaching. Through the Professional, Industry, and Career Permit (PIC) you can apply for a permit to teach high school students, on a temporary or full-time basis. We are looking for people who have 2 out of the last 5 years of experience in an industry area to apply for this PIC permit, which is valid for 5 years. For those who are unsure if teaching would be a good fit or are needing a few more years of industry experience we also have a Substitute Teaching Permit. If you would like more information, to apply for these permits, or have additional questions or ideas, you can contact the Professional Teaching Standards Board at 307-777-7291, or Nish Goicolea, at email@example.com
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WMA SEES 2020
A key charge of the Wyoming Mining Association is to actively advocate for and promote the mining industry by working cooperatively with state legislators in the lawmaking processes. To this end, WMA staff actively engage with lawmakers and the committee process to ensure that decisions and legislation is in the best interest, not only of the industry, but the state and our citizens as well. The 2020 Budget Session started with Governor Mark Gordon announcing the aiding of the coal industry as a priority in his 2020 State of the State Address, including efforts to export our coal and continue the development and deployment of Carbon Capture, Storage and Use technology (CCUS). The legislature answered by passing several bills passed to these ends. HB04 gave the Governor $1 million to pursue projects aimed at expanding Wyomingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coal markets. Another bill, HB231 gives a severance tax break to companies to export coal out of Canadian or Mexican ports, the thinking on this being that it would help make the option more economical. Of significance on the CCUS front, the body passed and the Governor signed HB200 which would basically set up portfolio standards for utilities and mandate the deployment of CCSU technology to the existing Wyoming coal fleet in order to keep our coal plants from closing down prematurely. This concept is similar to what other states have done with renewable mandates. There was a significant piece legislation impacting the trona industry this year. SF36 passed the body and will bring large scale solar projects under the Industrial Siting Council. This is important because we are starting to see growing interest on the part of this industry for development over what is known as the Known Sodium Leasing Area. Industry asked for this legislation to, in effect put some side rails on renewable development that has the potential to sterilize the underground trona resource. The bill passed and was signed by the Governor. Kudos to Jody Levin who really worked this bill hard for the trona industry. WMA was successful in helping pass SF85, which will give the struggling uranium industry some relief on the severance tax side. The legislation re-institutes a sliding scale for severance tax rates based on the spot price. As long as the price is below $30, the industry would pay no severance tax on production. The rate would gradually increase as prices increase. A 5-year sunset date was included in the final bill. 20 | The 2020 Mining Claim
The issue of shifting the payment schedule for ad valorem tax payments was thrust front and center this session in response to the coal bankruptcies of last summer. Late last year, the Legislative Management Council formed what they called the Joint Task Force on Coal and Mineral Bankruptcies to address issues they saw coming out of the Blackjewell and Cloud Peak bankruptcies. The main charge of the task force was to develop legislation to shift to a monthly payment schedule of ad valorem taxes to counties, with the intention to protect county revenue in the case of more mineral bankruptcies. To that end, the task force met 3 times and came out with a proposed bill to make the shift to monthly payments. The draft bill, HB159, was utterly unworkable, and the House Minerals Committee promptly replaced it with a completely different bill which subsequently passed the full House heavily amended. The bill then moved to the Senate side where the Senate Revenue Committee replaced the bill with something much different. This version of the bill passed the Senate, and the House concurred despite many looming questions. The object was to get something passed and signed into law, and continue to work the kinks out in the future. HB159 as passed by the body is based on the phased-in approach to monthly payments. The final bill included critical language that allows for a company and county to negotiate tailored payment plans, language adopted in response to testimony from WMA member Rob Piippo (Kemmerer Mine), Steve Gili (Black Butte Coal) and John Cash (Ur-Energy). Additionally, the committee included a 6 year â&#x20AC;&#x153;sunset dateâ&#x20AC;? to evaluate how the transition is working. Absent in the new version were incentive plans for moving to monthly payments early, and payment plan options for disposing of outstanding past production year payments. Legislative leadership pushed hard for adoption of this bill, with the recognition that significant questions can be addressed in the future. Unfortunately as of this writing, there remain numerous concerns with the implementation from operators and county officials. WMA advocated for slowing down and moving the entire bill to the interim for further work, and we remain concerned that with all the changes and differing ideas, the body acted in haste. It was a challenging session and while we did not win them all, we did see some success. Of the 12 bills WMA actively supported and lobbied, 8 passed the body. Conversely, of the 6 bills WMA actively opposed, only one passed (the monthly payment of ad valorem tax). www.wyomingmining.org
BY TRAVIS DETI, WMA Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a Special Session of the Legislature in May to address bills specifically designed to spend and distribute the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s allocation of funds from the CARES Act. WMA was particularly involved in the bill to create a Mitigation Relief Program, allowing for companies to claim reimbursement for the large, unanticipated expenses incurred for worker safety as a direct result of the pandemic.
the opportunity to commend and thank the following for all of their hard work this session: Pat Joyce (WMA), Wendy Lowe (Peabody), Jody Levin (Trona Industry), Dave Bush (BHE), and Pete Illoway (Cameco). It is truly a team effort and your work and dedication on behalf of the Wyoming mining industry is deeply appreciated.
Each legislative session, WMA fields a skilled lobbying team made up of staff and volunteers from member companies to monitor, track and influence legislation of importance to the industry as a whole. These past Budget and Special Sessions were no exception. We would like to take
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WMA & THE WORKFORCE
By Robert Hill
Decades ago America had a prepared and skilled workforce aligned with the needs of industry. Over time we have seen our workforce depleted as aging tradesmen and management personnel retire without a sufficient supply of prepared young workers to offset their exit. Most authorities would agree the American education system was well on its way to deemphasizing vocational education by the 1970’s. Gradually financial and moral support for vocational education lagged as school advisors stressed university prep and careers in other fields. As vocational education transitioned to a broader form termed Career and Technical Education (CTE), schools struggled to pivot to the needs of the workforce. From this approach we incurred an increasing skills gap between what education was preparing to what industry needed from initial worker entry. Today we have seen the effect of more than 50 years of this policy. Ironically, many would argue, careers in technical fields have flourished while traditional liberal arts graduates struggle to find gainful and meaningful employment.
The Wyoming Mining Association has been a key partner in changing technical perceptions and adding value to career choices in Wyoming. Although there is much work ahead, there has been successful policy changes based on work done by WMA and educators. They include changing the statewide Hathaway scholarship to include technical paths for students, helping create strong support from the Wyoming Legislature and executive branch, awareness with high school counselors through regional presentations, participation in how federal vocational funds are spent, revamping UW teacher training programs, work with teacher licensing, shaping teacher certifications at community colleges, and establishing local advisory boards. These beginning changes are critical if we are to advance programs and expand the number of students graduating with technical backgrounds. It is also safe to say, most of these changes would not have occurred if it were not for business and industry stressing to statewide leaders the need for a homegrown, skilled workforce.
These state level changes have occurred and are being processed. There is also good news at the local levels. Through this coalition work, policy has been created that will make it required that districts receiving CTE funds, usually considerable amounts, will need to partner with industry at the local level. Opportunities will begin in Fall 2020 for work-based learning (including site visits, job shadowing, interviews, internships and presentations), advanced training and certifications, support for student technical organizations, and As a technical education teacher in Wyoming, who works teacher internships where educators come to industry sites closely with business leaders, I frequently hear the ques- to learn from experts about what should be taught and how tion: “What can we do to change these policies when we to form partnerships. These policies were created through have good careers to offer young people”? work done by WMA and other industries, educators and led by the Wyoming Department of Education. The good news is there is a great deal that can be done, and almost always, it is centered around business and in- Our Wyoming teachers and students need exposure to industry partnering with education to create policy that af- dustry to fully understand viable and rewarding careers exfords students the opportunity to pursue technical careers. ist in our state. Anytime education and industry can work We know that when students are given the opportunity to together, we stand a far greater chance of success. Many of participate in Wyoming CTE programs by taking multiple our technical teachers are trying to find strong partnerships classes, they graduate at a 95% rate, have higher career but often do not know who to contact. Please consider earnings, excel in postsecondary education and industry contacting a school to establish a relationship with a techcareers, have greater job satisfaction, and outperform all nical program. The Wyoming Association for Career and others when they do choose a university degree. We also Technical Education is encouraging our teachers to reach know that business and industry organizations absolutely out to local business leaders as we return to school this understand the complexities of their sectors best. When year. To impact workforce, we must have greater enrolment industry advises education on topics, it is critical that align- numbers in our programs. Local advocacy through partment is created for a more seamless transition from educa- nerships, advising, presenting to school boards and simple tion to work. To be successful in the future, both education conversations develop supporting policy. and industry need a strong partnership and coalitions that work closely together.
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Our greatest asset in Wyoming is our young people. Creating an education system that allows them the opportunity to pursue training and preparation to key industries, like mining, is critical to the stability of industry and the welfare of the state. Rob Hill teaches the Core Construction program at the Pathways Innovation Center in Casper. Prior to teaching, he worked in the multi-family construction industry. Mr. Hill served the Wyoming Association for Career and Technical Education as president in 2019 and is currently the Public Policy Chairperson and President of Wyoming Skills USA. Hill has a BS in Industrial Technology Education form the University of Wyoming and MA in Director of CTE Ball State University. He is a past recipient of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement award, Wyoming ACTE Teacher of the Year, Innovative Program awardee and a graduate of the Leadership Wyoming program in 2020.
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MINING ASSOCIA MINING ASSOCIATES OF WYOMING
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT Mining Associates of Wyoming Your investment in MAW makes a difference.
A Division of the Wyoming Mining Association
OFFICERS Crystal Volk | President SLS West Traci Lacock | Vice President Hirst Applegate Steve Salter | Treasurer Dyno Nobel, Inc. Cody Harrod | Secretary Komatsu Mining Corp. Group BOARD OF DIRECTORS Travis Deti Wyoming Mining Association Mike Curtis Nelson Brothers Keegan Rogers L&H Industrial Dale Brown WWC Engineering Cory Wasson Austin Engineering, USA Dean Stephenson Brake Supply Lincoln Klemola Liebherr USA Mike Schutt Epiroc Randy Quig Wyoming Machinery
It has been my privilege to serve on the MAW Board of Directors for the past seven years and as an Officer for the past four. With the current climate toward mining in our nation, today it is paramount that MAW continues to focus on supporting current members and recruiting new members. When you become a MAW member whether working as a small or large contractor in the state of Wyoming, your voice has an equal impact when it comes to supBY: CRYSTAL VOLK porting the mining industry in our state. SLS WEST, INC. It is important to remember that as MAW MAW President - 2019-21 members 2/3 of our membership dues go to the Wyoming Mining Association to assist in the continued education of the citizens of Wyoming regarding the mining industry. We all have seen over the course of the year how important personal protective equipment (PPE) and occupational health is to the well being of employees and the companies they work with. PPE is not a new term for those of us in the mining industry and when a lack of critical equipment became known across our Nation and State, we saw companies step forward to assist those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of commitment from companies is what Mining Associates of Wyoming will need to continue supporting our miners and customers we serve each day. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your President this past year. Stay safe and be well.
1401 Airport Parkway, Ste. 230 â&#x20AC;˘ Cheyenne, WY 82001 â&#x20AC;˘ www.wyomingmining.org Help us support the WMA by referring a new MAW member today!
Membership applications are available at www.wyomingmining.org. Members paid at publication are listed. 26 | The 2020 Mining Claim
ATES OF Wyoming Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been the strong right arm of the Wyoming mining industry for over 30 years! We, the service & supply companies, support the Wyoming Mining Association. Thanks to the skilled, dedicated people, equipped with the best machines, tools and techniques on earth, Wyoming mining continues to be safe, strong and vital.
THANKS TO THE SUPPORT OF OUR MEMBERS, WEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE HELPING TO KEEP IT THAT WAY!
MEMBERS Accord Resource Solutions LLC
Oftedal Construction Inc
All State Fire Equipment
Equitable Oil Purchasing
Pace Analytical Services
Aqua Terra Consultants
Austin Engineering, USA
First National Bank of Gillette
Powder River Energy Corp
Big Horn Tire
Rocky Mountain Brake
BKS Environmetal Associates, Inc
GK Construction Inc.
Rocky Mountain Recycling
Great Plains Wildlife Consulting
Blue Cross Blue Shield
HDR Engineering, Inc
SLS West Inc
Brake Supply Company
Spencer Fluid Power
Holland and Hart
Hydro Engineering, LLC
Casper Well Products
Industrial Lubricant Co
United Central Industrial Supply
Interstate Power Systems
Wheeler Machinery Co.
L&H Industrial Inc
Cumberland Surety, Inc
Cummins Rocky Mountain LLC
Wyoming Machinery Company
MG Oil Company
Wyoming Miners Hospital Board
Energy Capital Economic Development
Nelson Brothers Mining Services LLC
Wyoming Power Wash
Northern Engine and Supply Inc
Wyoming Taxpayers Association
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DEQ RECLAMATION AWARD GOES TO PEABODY - NORTH ANTELOPE ROCHELLE MINE CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) recently awarded the 2020 Excellence in Mining Reclamation Award for coal to Peabody Powder River Mining LLC regarding its management practices related to the successful revegetation the North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Wright. WDEQ gives 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. In 2019, the WDEQ’s Land Quality Division approved the completed reclamation and revegetation of more than 3,700 acres at the mine to make a mine-wide total of nearly 12,700 reclaimed acres returned to livestock grazing and wildlife use.
Scott Durgin, vice president of operations at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine, said, “At Peabody, we have long been committed to restoring the land for generations that follow and are pleased to have received recognition for our successes on that front.” He added, “I am very proud of the team at NARM for the continued work and management practices that restore the land for generations that follow.” The North Antelope Rochelle Mine produced more than 85 million tons of coal in 2019 and employs more than 1,200 individuals.
Matthew Kunze, a WDEQ geology supervisor, said, “The revegetation practices are predicted to result in long-term benefits, so the reclaimed lands can successively be used for grazing and wildlife as part of the post-mine land use.” Peabody representatives attributed the revegetation success to strong reclamation and management strategies, including grazing, weed control, interseeding, and mowing.
From our scholarship program to hiring and purchasing, we are proud of our record of commitment and involvement in our communities. Together we’re working to provide opportunity and build a better future for the people of Crook County.
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2019 CONVENTION Snapshots From Last Year
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ADVERTISER INDEX L & H industrial..................................................................... 2 SLS West, INC........................................................................ 6 Rocky Mountain Power.................................................... 7 WWC Engineering............................................................... 7 Nelson Brothers.................................................................... 8 Tronox Genesis Alkali........................................................ 8 Ciner........................................................................................... 9 WMA Safety Seminar and Trade Show..................... 11 Wyoming Machinery Company................................... 12 Black Hills Energy............................................................... 13 Energy Policy Network..................................................... 21 BKS Environmental Associates, Inc........................... 22 Crowley Fleck Attorneys ................................................ 22 Honnen Equipment............................................................. 22 SWCA......................................................................................... 22
Mining and Producing Uranium in Wyoming
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wyoming...................... 23 Spencer Fluid Power.......................................................... 25 Strata Energy......................................................................... 28 Bentonite Performance Minerals LLC....................... 30 Energy Fuels Resources.................................................. 30 Solvay........................................................................................ 31
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