HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has approved the final performance bond release for the “Area E” portion of the Rosebud Mine near Colstrip.
The state will release a $1.2 million surety bond to the Western Energy Company, having determined that all remaining reclamation work in Area E is successfully completed. Performance bonds are held by DEQ to ensure that coal mine permit holders fully reclaim their sites when resource extraction is finished. After a mining company meets its reclamation requirements as required by state rules, the performance bond is released.
Area E is located on the southeast side of the Rosebud Mine adjacent to the Colstrip Power Plant. Permitted mining began in Area E in the mid-1970s and was finished in the late 1980s. DEQ releases performance bonds in phases, as reclamation milestones are met. The now-complete reclamation phases in Area E were:
- Phase I: Backfilling and grading to the approved post-mine topography.
- Phase II: Soiling, seeding and establishment of desired vegetation, control of noxious weeds.
- Phase III: Reclaimed vegetation meets approved cover, production and diversity standards; stable landscape established and control of suspended solids to stream flow or runoff outside the permit area; permanent ponds established.
- Phase IV: Fish and wildlife habitats reclaimed, restored or protected; disturbance to the hydrological balance minimized; offsite material damage prevented; alternative water sources to replace water supplies adversely affected by mining and reclamation are developed and functional.
The reclaimed, privately owned land has been returned to use for livestock grazing and wildlife habitat.
With reclamation work complete and the remaining portion of the performance bond released, DEQ also releases its jurisdiction over the Area E surface mine permit. However, DEQ can reinstate its jurisdiction if future mine-related environmental issues are identified.
The following short videos feature DEQ’s coal mine reclamation and bonding processes and are available for media use.
Rosebud Mine Reclamation Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoONNqcWZXs&feature=youtu.be
Phases of Bond Release Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQaxTE-Ijes&feature=youtu.be