Despite the program’s tenure, awards have not been bestowed every year. No awards were given in 1998 or 2013.
That’s partly because to receive the award, the deciding members of a committee must unanimously agree that a project exhibits excellent mitigation of the environmental impacts of the minerals industry and demonstrates work efforts that go beyond what is mandated.
The committee is made up of representatives from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the Nevada Division of Minerals.
Mandates for reclamation of mine operation and exploration projects fall under the NDEP’s Regulation and Reclamation Bureau. On the regulation side, the bureau focuses on protecting state waters from degradation; on the reclamation side, the bureau focuses on obtaining financial assurances for minerals industry activities that affect land.
The lineup of 261 projects permitted in Q1, split evenly between operation and exploration, reflects the favorable financial conditions for metals, with gold prices up more than 44 percent compared to five years ago. Each project will be monitored and held accountable by the state.
Nevada requires reclamation permits to make sure that land affected by mining is restored to its original state or better, and that the state is not left with the bill for environmental cleanup.